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Follow-up: The Campaign to Save the Bialystoker Building

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Bialystoker Nursing Home building, 228 East Broadway. Photo by: thelodownny.com.

Here’s an update on what’s happening with the former Bialystoker Nursing Home building at 228 East Broadway. Months after the home was shuttered, the board of directors has stepped up its efforts to sell the 1929 Art Deco structure.  As we reported last week, there is an offer on the table from a developer who plans to demolish the building.  Community activists hoping to save the Bialystoker are also making a big push to persuade the Landmarks Preservation Commission to act now on an application to protect the building from the wrecking ball.

In an email message to supporters this week, Friends of the Bialystoker Home wrote:

(We) urgently need your help to protect the historic Bialystoker Home for the Aged, threatened by development.   We know there is a serious buyer and hear that a sale is about to happen.  The Bialystoker Board has hired a Public Relations firm to influence elected officials and the media.  We fear that politics will intervene and result in demolition of this important building.   As ordinary citizens, we lack the ability to counter their PR effort with anything except our numbers, our passion, and our deeply held belief that the Bialystoker Home is worthy of landmark designation for its unique architectural character that reflects the Jewish heritage of caring on the Lower East Side.

Meanwhile, staff in City Councilmember Maragret Chin’s office have been consulting with representatives of the Bialystoker board, the Landmarks Commission and the preservation groups.  They have also been inquiring with the state Attorney General about the status of its investigation of various Bialystoker real estate transactions. Since Bialystoker is a non-profit organization, any sale would presumably require government approval.  Another major concern: millions of dollars owed by Bialystoker to its union.  As we reported several months ago, the union agreed to wait for a sale before receiving pension, health and other benefits owed former employees.

In the past week, the Landmarks Commission told us it was still actively considering the application but no decision on “calendaring” the matter was imminent.  About 130 people have signed an online petition to save the Bialystoker.


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