Slate Property Group, China Vanke Co. and Adam America Real Estate have had enough. They have now sold the former Rivington House nursing home building to a mystery buyer for $160 million. The developers’ dreams of a luxury condo conversion were dashed, but they still walked away with a profit. The old school building at 45 Rivington St. is changing hands for $160 million, $44 million more than the purchase price three years ago.
You know the story. Slate and its development partners entered the picture after a previous owner, the Allure Group, got the city to drop deed restrictions on the property. Multiple investigations ensued and the mayor was under scrutiny for allowing a community facility on the Lower East Side to fall into the hands of luxury real estate developers. Community activists and local elected officials clamored for the owners to re-establish a health care facility in the building. Mt. Sinai Health System later signed a long-term lease, and is planning to open a behavioral health center at 45 Rivington St.
As The Real Deal noted, “the identity of the new owner could not be immediately determined. The buyer took steps to cloud its identity behind an LLC.” In the deed filed with the city’s finance department Sept. 18, that entity was referred to only as, “Kranken House FH LP.”
A spokesperson for Slate told Curbed, “We are pleased with this outcome, and that we could work with Mt. Sinai on a long-term lease to ensure that Rivington House will remain a healthcare facility serving New Yorkers in need for decades to come.”
The office of City Council member Margaret Chin also put out a statement yesterday:
Three years after the problematic sale of Rivington House shook the Lower East Side community, our neighbors have been fighting tooth and nail to make sure that the critical health services that Rivington House has provided for 20 years for our most vulnerable community members continue. It is deeply upsetting that over and over again the real estate industry has used Rivington House as a profit-making venture, continuously playing hot potato with this property, and lining their own pockets at the expense of the community—while constantly keeping everyone in the dark. My office has been leading an effort to hold Allure accountable to what was agreed to in the settlement, and working with Community Board 3 and the Neighbors to Save Rivington House to return much-needed nursing home beds to the community. We need transparency now, and I demand the new owner to publicly come forward immediately and make a case to residents for how it will be a community partner.
Public records show that Mt. Sinai signed a lease for the 150,000 square foot facility that expires in January of 2051. The hospital conglomerate can extend the lease by 10 years if it chooses to do so. There was also a provision in the agreement that allowed Mt. Sinai to purchase the property if Slate and its development partners decided to sell.
In January of 2018, then State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman cut a deal with the Allure Group, requiring the company to pay $2 million in fines and other penalties in connection with the Rivington House affair. No one in the de Blasio administration was ever held accountable for the Rivington House debacle. While the mayor was sharply critical of Slate, the firm never faced criminal charges.