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Rivington Street Nursing Center Closes Next Week; Relocation Anticipated

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For the second time in a year, the nursing home formerly known as Rivington House, will be closing its doors. The facility, now called the Rivington Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation, will shut down by the end of next week, soon after the last residents are transferred to other homes.

Rivington House operated from 1995 until late last year as a nursing home for AIDS patients. Its previous owner, VillageCare, closed the location and sold the building to The Allure Group, a for-profit nursing care provider. The idea was to run the 215-bed center as a nursing home for the general population. The Rivington Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation opened this past February with a limited number of patients. But the bureaucratic hurdles of making the facility work apparently became insurmountable.

Executives of The Allure Group have not replied to our requests for information. But Community Board 3’s district manager, Susan Stetzer, has been provided some details about the nursing home’s future on the Lower East Side. The company apparently plans to reopen in a different location within a short walking distance of the current building, which is located at Rivington and Forsyth streets. The property, 45 Rivington St., has not yet been sold. That will reportedly not happen until the state provides assurances that Medicaid reimbursements will be available for the nursing home beds. The company would like to replace all of the beds currently in the Rivington facility but it expects that will be a tall order.

Two transactions related to the converted former school building have been recorded by the city’s finance department in the past year. On February 9, The Allure Group purchased the property (now known as 41 Rivington St.) for $28 million. Then on November 10, records show, The Allure Group paid $16,150,000, acquiring the deed from the city of New York. As part of that deal, the city administration lifted a restriction in place since the 1990s requiring the property to operate as a not-for-profit residential health care facility. For the moment, we don’t know why these two transactions took place and can’t explain what bearing they might have on the building’s future.

There is this tidbit, however. Neighbors in an adjacent building report they recently heard from a construction firm working with the Slate Property Group, which was anticipating a market rate residential conversion of the building. Tessa Huxley lives in an HDFC cooperative on Forsyth Street.  Years ago, the residents agreed to give up their community garden so that Rivington House could put a generator there. They certainly didn’t anticipate that the sacrifice would one day benefit a luxury condo building. “In terms of trying to preserve our community,” she said, “a market rate conversion isn’t really what we had in mind.”

Employees of the center have been told they will be transferred to other Allure Group facilities. There are about 45 full- and part-time staff members.

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  1. So this restriction was lifted without any binding guarantees to the community that this would remain a health care institution for low-income people as promised?

    AIDs patients were summarily removed in the last ‘sale’ and scattered to the winds (much like Bialystoker and Cabrini nursing home residents). The aging community here were hoping for a nursing home they could afford with visits from neighbors and family in their own neighborhood.

    I’m sure they would all be thrilled with the possibility of rich people getting to enjoy a view that poor people built for them in the community garden opposite.
    Thanks Lo-Down for the work of bringing this to light.

  2. Too bad that CM Chin didn’t have this turned into senior housing instead of focusing on a tiny park on Elizabeth St. Talk about backward priorities. It can’t be by accident. Just gotta repay REBNY for all their campaign cash. sad, K, very sad.

  3. This is so wrong! Where is the political will to protect and provide for the people with fewer means who have lived in and built this neighborhood for years?

  4. Wrong RoBow. Chin fought back the first attempt that was made to give it away for market rate. It was deed restricted to be a low income health care facility only the administration could change that. We are in desperate need of both nursing homes and affordable housing. Look at the income inequality stats, aging stats, rates of Alzheimers, etc. Chin has fought for poor and vulnerable people more than most. Elizabeth Street is for senior AFFORDABLE housing that will have a large and needed impact. Apples and oranges.

  5. “the city administration lifted a restriction in place since the 1990s
    requiring the property to operate as a not-for-profit residential health
    care facility.” — And Margaret Chin did nothing to stop this from happening. Apparently, she did not even raise any objection. She’s either on the developers’ side or just bad at politics. most likely both.

    Comparatively, Elizabeth St. Garden would allow for very few units of affordable housing (for people making as much as $144,000 per year – ugh!), whereas this building could have allowed for many times more units. Call it apples and oranges if you want, but it looks a lot more like selective outrage.

  6. Indeed, I save my outrage for the relentless drive to segregate our city on the basis of both class and race. Poor people shunted out of the neighborhoods they built as they become newly interesting to profiteers. As happened in Little Italy as is happening on Rivington Street.
    The units on Elizabeth Street would be 100% affordable, with steeper cuts if LMDC funding is awarded. The endless and indiscriminate targeting of a Councilmember who stands for affordable housing here is thoroughly, utterly, tiresome.

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