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Mount Sinai Plans to Open Behavioral Health Center in Rivington House Building

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Rivington House, 45 Rivington St.
Rivington House, 45 Rivington St.

The former Rivington House AIDS nursing home is destined to become a behavioral health facility operated by Mount Sinai Health System, Crain’s reported this morning.

Previous plans by the property owners, led by Slate Property Group, to convert the longtime community center to luxury condos, have apparently been abandoned. The Rivington House debacle, in which deed restrictions were mysteriously lifted, was one of the biggest scandals of Mayor de Blasio’s first term.

Crain’s reported that Mount Sinai has signed a letter of intent to lease the 150,000 square foot building at 45 Rivington St.. A spokesperson said, “The new center will be a state-of-the-art, community-oriented destination for behavioral health care and a ‘one-stop’ location of services for mental health, addictions, physical health and social-service needs for the downtown community.”

The move is part of Mount Sinai’s larger plans to open up community-based health care centers as it prepares to close Beth Israel Hospital. The Bernstein Pavilion, located near Beth Israel, will relocate to Rivington Street.

A local group, Neighbors to Save Rivington House, has been campaigning tirelessly since 2016. The group released a statement yesterday afternoon, after learning about the Mount Sinai deal:

Once again a deal is being attempted without notice to or involvement of the community most impacted by the removal of 219 nursing home beds in Rivington House. Unacceptable. While it is heartening to hear that our relentless 3 1.2 years of advocacy appears to have succeeded in staving off a luxury condo development, Mount Sinai Hospital is a newcomer to the neighborhood, and this community’s advocacy and its needs are requisite to any final outcomes here. We believe the corrective course of action for the public good is a sit-down with all parties concerned. It is important to redress the lack of transparency that has dogged this building’s recent history – especially given that this has (and will) severely impact those who are vulnerable and without voice. We do not know exactly what Mount Sinai’s intended uses are as there has been no discussion with us. But if it does not include nursing home housing it will not meet this neighborhood’s critical need. There are urgent and appropriate uses for this building if it is available for long-term lease. Since it is currently configured as a nursing care facility and nursing beds have been identified as a critical need for this neighborhood it is most appropriate to look at a lease with or including a nursing home operator. The local elected officials, Community Board and Neighbors to Save Rivington House have engaged in good faith negotiations with Slate Property Group [on behalf of China Vanke and Adam America]. We were given to understand we were negotiating for a portion or all of the building to be returned to the community for use for nursing home beds. Because of that understanding, we have led an extensive search for providers, some of whom have great interest to create a model long-term care nursing home. The proposed uses from Mount Sinai that we’ve heard would not help those in desperate need of nursing home housing (a long-term nursing home bed is somebody’s home).  Going forward, we expect our elected representatives, community board, Mount Sinai and Slate Property Group to support a meeting to help restore faith in any potential process involving the future use of Rivington House.

The Allure Group, a for-profit nursing home operator snapped up the building in 2015 for $28 million. It then resold the property for $116 million after the city administration agreed to lift deed restrictions that required the former school building to be operated as a community health facility.

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