History of Old PS 64

  • This building is vacant and demolished in the interior waiting for a building permit, for any legal use, to renovate the interior and restoration of the facade. The building was 100% pre-leased for a state of the art dorm to be shared by  Adelphi University, Cooper Union College and the Joffrey Ballet School, each scheduled to occupy two floors which would have provided affordable housing for 535 students of New York’s great educational institutions. These students would be providing over $20 million annually (what economists call the rolling effect) into the local community. Instead, due to the interference of a wealthy neighbor (the politicians benefactor) and the corruption and interference of former Council Member Rosie Mendez, former Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and former Mayor Bill de Blasio , current Council Member Carlina Rivera, current state senator Brad Hoylman, current state representative Harvey Epstein,  and current Chief of Staff to Mayor Eric Adams, Frank Carone, the building remains a vacant eyesore in the community.  Mayor de Blasio refused to let the NYC Department of Buildings keep a Building Permit active, even though they approved the project so the restoration of the facade and renovation of the interior of the building can move forward. There have been Building Permits issued to convert the former school building into a college student dormitory but immediately thereafter the Building permits have been declared invalid because the city issued Stop Work Orders as described below in the   History of Old PS 64. The project meets all zoning and building requirements and is supported by over 1600 people in the neighborhood who have signed a support the dorm petition. Ownership had offered the building to Mayor de Blasio for an alternative use for affordable housing, homeless housing, drug rehabilitation, veterans center or any legal use within the zoning, which is for a Community Facility Use. Instead Mayor de Blasio told people that have wanted to lease space for their non profit organization, school, college and developers, that wanted to partner with the owner, that “the building is spoken for”. Ownership has learned that meant Mayor de Blasio was trying to get the building for his benefactor (see NY State and Federal Court lawsuit documents) that has been paying millions of dollars per year to local politicians, Mayor de Blasio and nonprofit organizations to be against any use unless the building is owned by the benefactor. Eric Adams said on the campaign trail, after he won the democratic primary,  “this nonsense has to stop and once I am elected Mayor we will issue a building permit and move this project forward”. He hasn’t done so.
  • Built 1905-06. Operated as a NYC Public Elementary School PS 64 from 1907-1977
  • 1984-85 The City of NY (City) leased the building to a private company (Tenant) for a one year lease, then the lease term became month to month cancelable with a 30 day notice. Rent was $874 per month.
  • 1998 The City sold the building at public auction. It is 111,000 sq. ft. (152,075 rsf) building with an additional 75,000 sq. ft. of development rights (not including parking and/or cellar with an additional 25,000 sq. ft.) Sold on July 20, 1998 with the closing on July 21, 1999 to the approved buyer, the current owner, 9th & 10th Street, LLC (Owner). The property was sold with a Deed restriction for a Community Facility Use (CFU). A CFU under the City zoning resolution is listed as Use Group 3 & 4.
  • 1999 Building is transferred to new owner. Tenant paid Owner $874 per month in rent for the entire building. Tenant was not authorized to sublease but they illegally rented out rooms bringing in approximately $35,000 per month in rent. In July 1999 Owner gave Tenant a 30 day notice to vacate, which they refused to do. Tenant claimed the building was a Community and Cultural Center. In fact, it was a hotbed of illegal activity with drug use, drug dealing and illegal renting of rooms in violation of the lease and zoning. Unfortunately for the community and the Owner the local Council Member at that time, Margarita Lopez, was protecting the Tenant (and the cash) at all costs including using City funds to pay for the Tenants defense on their eviction case for their illegal use and expired lease.  During the final eviction proceeding in court the tenant’s prinicpal told the Judge there is no proof he rents out rooms because he only excepts cash. Tenant and their illegal subtenants were all evicted on December 27, 2001.
  • 1999-2005. Owner reached out to schools and over 1200 local community, city and state nonprofit groups to see if they needed space and many were interested in leasing space in the building. Owner offered the space at $12.50 per square foot and the market rent at the time was $18 per square foot. But, in the end, they wouldn’t lease space in the building because they said the local city Council Member Margarita Lopez threatened their funding from the city, state and federal government if they leased space in the building and most of their funding came from the government.  See Community letter.
  • Late 2005 Owner decided to build a college student dormitory, Use Group 3, which is “as of right” and use its development rights it bought from the city and keep the front half of the building on 9th street and go up 19 stories set back from the street and be the same height as the neighboring building. There have been several landmarked and non landmarked buildings in Manhattan that kept the original façade or part of a building and added additional floors to the building.  City started talks about Landmarking the building. Owners attorney advised to obtain a Building permit to remove the facade so the City won’t landmark the building. City issues permit.
  • Mid 2006. In good faith, Owner met with Rosie Mendez, the former Chief of Staff to Council Member Lopez and the new local city Council Member, to present a deal structure that would give $ 60 million to the local nonprofit community over 30 years from the cash flow of the building without any approvals needed from the city council, the community board or any government funding. Additionally, Owner offered Community Facility Use space with its own entrance but Rosie said she didn’t want that because she wants the building for free for the community. If she wanted the building she should have bid for it at auction with the other 13 bidders. The former Tenant was given the opportunity to buy the building from the City for $385,000 with a $135,000 down payment and the City would provide a mortgage for $250,000. The Tenant told City Hall during the time Mayor Giuliani was in office that the City must sell the Tenant the building for $1. Thereafter, Mayor Giuliani put the property up for auction in 1998.
  • Mid/Late 2006.  Owners attorney advises to take down the dormers on 10th street because the City is serious about landmarking and since the 10th street side would be demolished anyway you should save the project which will have a community use (for a legal community facility use) space in the building and the $60m community benefit. Owner met with Rosie Mendez three months before the permit expired and explained that if she doesn’t support extending the expiration date of the building permit, so something can be worked out, then Owner would have to do the work to be in a better legal position to save the development rights and the community benefit. Rosie Mendez refused to ask the Mayor or the Department of Buildings (DOB) to extend the permit so Owner removed the dormers on 10th street legally as per the City issued building permit.
  • Rosie Mendez convinced the Landmark commission to Landmark the building on September 13, 2006 even though that Commission, and all other City agencies passed on any interest in the building before it was sold at auction. The community lost the $60 million and the community space offered by the Owners. Prior to Landmarking, Owner showed the Landmarks Preservation Commission 12 City owned buildings that are very similar to Old PS 64 with the same architect CBJ Snyder with his H shape design and the City didn’t Landmarks these buildings.
  • November 19, 2008 the City downzoned the East Village thereby even if Owner won a lawsuit to recind the landmark status the downzoning eliminated the development rights and the $60 million benefit to the local nonprofit community and the community space with its own entrance.
  • 2009 Since the building was downzoned and no additional FAR or square feet can be built, going forward Owner seeks to just renovate the existing building and restore the facade.
  • Since the politicians didn’t like the below market rent to non profits, in the existing building,  in the early years of ownership or their own community space and $60 million benefit for local non profits for a 19 story dorm, Owner put some brochures together to see if there was interest for other uses.  Owner created a School brochure to show the public and private school community that Old PS 64 can be renovated as a new state of the art K-12 school or two K-8 schools.  Owner also created a brochure for a preparatory boarding school called East Village Academy. The politicians weren’t interested in renovating the building for these uses either.
  • The Deputy Mayor in the Mayor Michael Bloomberg administration wrote a City Hall Letter 1-5-2009 stating the City agrees that higher education is an important economic engine for our economy and that dormitories may help educational institutions attract students to our city. It further states we agree that this building is eligible to be converted to a dormitory use, subject to submission of adequate proof of a nexus between the dormitory and one or more qualified educational institutions, and upon submission of proof to DOB of such nexus with an educational institution, the building would qualify for a permit authorizing the construction of a community facility dormitory.
  • December 2012 Owner signed a 15 year lease for 1 floor with Cooper Union College (Use Group 3) and in February 2013 Cooper Union College signed a lease amendment for 1 more floor for 15 years.
  • May 2013 Owner signed a 15 year lease for 2 floors with Joffrey Ballet Center, Inc. a NY not for profit corp. (another Use Group 3 allowed use) within the existing building.
  • February 2013 Owner filed the full architectural plans for the Use Group 3 uses, as per zoning, with the DOB, submits the leases to the DOB after they were signed and 18 months later the DOB issues the Building permit 8-22-14  for the dormitory within the existing building. Five weeks later on September 22, 2014 the DOB issues a Stop Work Order because Council Member Rosie Mendez wrote to the Commissioner of the DOB, Rick Chandler, and asked him to recind the permit because she didn’t approve of the leases. This is after the DOB  had 18 months to review the leases and approved them after full legal review at the DOB. (Owner believes a tenant is not even needed to get a building permit when there is no additional bulk / FAR being built. The DOB can’t legally deny someone a building permit for fear of a possible future illegal use. If so, any property owner in NYC could be denied a building permit to renovate an existing building or build a new building if the owner didn’t first have a lease with a tenant prior to seeking a building permit.)
  • July 2015, after Owner addressed the made up “concerns” of the DOB they issued Building permits again. Again, within three weeks after a lot of pressure on the Mayor and the DOB from their benefactor, Rosie Mendez, Gale Brewer and other elected officials, who Rosie convinced to support her misinformation campaign,  the DOB rejects the leases after their prior approval and issued a Stop Work Order. The DOB states they mainly reject the Cooper Union lease because, even though they lease the beds, the college doesn’t need the beds in the summer (they don’t have a summer program) and that means, from the DOB point of view, they are not leasing the beds for a minimum of 10 years, which is a requirement of DOB Rule 51.  Cooper got frustrated with the City and was protested by Rosie Mendez and cancelled the lease.  The DOB approved Joffrey Ballet DOB 8-8-13  and Cooper Union College after a thorough review. Thereafter, rejected the Joffrey Ballet lease because they say 30% of their space must be for programs and not housing which the DOB had already approved. This was made up as there is not a rule or law that states this “30%” requirement. Joffrey Ballet has a site for programs on W. 10th street and that’s where the programming is done with the exception of the use of the facilities on the premises.  Joffrey Ballet could not afford to accommodate this most onerous requirement nor endure the harassment and interference by Council Member Rosie Mendez so their lease was cancelled.
  • Owner works with DOB to find out exactly what rules they have that are not listed in Rule 51. Owner does this by submitting zoning determinations called ZRD-1. Thereafter, Owner knows exactly what the DOB needs to lift the stop work order to allow construction to begin.
  • August 2016 owner signs a 10 year lease for 2 floors with Adelphi University addressing all previous concerns of the DOB.  After an unprecedented 8 months of lease review the DOB had objections (the rules state the DOB has 40 days to either approve or give objections to a lease). Owner and Adelphi signed a lease amendment and another to address the new DOB concerns, which were without merit. The Lease, and its amendments, addressing agency concerns complies with all DOB Rule 51 requirements. In spite of this arduous effort to comply, the DOB will not lift the stop work order. Instead, the DOB conjures up reasons why the lease in non compliant using objections that are contrary to what the lease says. Mainly the DOB states Adelphi has an option to lease beds rather than an obligation to lease beds.  However, the lease states for 10 years that Adelphi leases the entire second and third floors which shall include 196 beds. Like all college leases in NYC the tenant has the right to license their beds to their students but the tenant (Adelphi) remains the tenant who leases the space from the Owner. Additionally the DOB says Adelphi doesn’t have exclusive use and control of all of their premises. That is what a lease provides is exclusive use and control which includes licensing their beds to their students, like every other NYC college. Owner and Adelphi even did a lease amendment with the exact language the DOB wanted and their response was “the new amended lease fails to satisfy the requirement for proof of control”. Adelphi reached out to the Mayor for help in the Adelphi letter 11-28-16 but the Mayor nor anyone at City Hall responded to the letter.
  • From a FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) document that took over two years to get on appeal, and obtained in the summer of 2020, owner finds out that on August 23, 2016 , 12 days after submitting the Adelphi lease to the DOB, the DOB Deputy Commissioner sent an email to Mayor de Blasio’s office stating…”we have reviewed the lease for Adelphi at 605 E. 9th Street, and we’re ok with it. We will be lifting the Stop Work order and issuing the permit.” Well the permit wasn’t issued due to Mayor de Blasio’s interference.
  • 2014-2017 Rosie Mendez informs Mayor de Blasio she wants the building to be a “community use or community benefit,”  a description that doesn’t exist in the zoning text but was offered from the Owner in 2006 but Owner said it had to be a legal Community Facility Use to comply with zoning, not the illegal use of the past. The Owner’s proposed college student dorm will be a tremendous community benefit but Rosie Mendez objects to the fact that the property was sold by the city and that someone else has site control. Rosie Mendez balked when Owner offered Community Facility Use space for a legal community use because she wanted the building for free. Rosie Mendez had never made a specific proposal to lease or buy the property;  nor has she informed the media or any of her allies where the money would come from to lease or purchase. She would only say we need a community center but would not provide any details.
  • Old PS 64 is a privately owned building since 1999. Owner is trying to enforce the Deed restriction, get a Building permit and renovate the existing building and restore the facade. City Hall has interfered with the DOB from doing its job. The City sold the building and issued  an  interior demolition permit and allowed Owner to fully demolish the interior of the building but will not allow it to be renovated and used.   The buildings current condition  is vacant and ready to be renovated with “state of the art” plans designed to sustainable and LEED principles.
  • A 2007 report from Economics Research Associates states that after development of the dorm, the ongoing operation of the project will generate total spending of approximately $17 million in the City annually. Extrapolating from the report, the community has already missed out on over $350 million of expenditures that would have been spent in the community up to 2021,  had the building been occupied.
  • A report by Greenwich Realty Advisors states in 2012, our analysis indicates an unsatisfied need of 57,098 dormitory beds in New York County.
  • The planned College student dormitory known as University Square has approved building plans and support from the majority of the community, who signed dormitory support petitions with over 1600 signatures, but Mayor de Blasio has not allowed the project to move forward.  See support petitions generated from the community in 2017: batch 1, batch 2, batch 3 and generated from the Owner in 2008 from local businesses. The property remains a vacant eyesore in the community with the politicians claiming the Owner refuses to renovate the building and they want it to fall down.  Of course all they need to do is issue a full Building permit to renovate the building and restore the facade and Owner will get it done.

Since the DOB and City Hall continually refused to meet with the Owner,  Colleges and Universities and/or their representatives to discuss what is necessary to move the project forward,  Owner started legal proceedings at the end of 2017 to protect the building, the project and the rights of the owner and the community. * Basis of lawsuit allegations

September 2017 Owners managing partner meets Mayor Bill de Blasio in Tompkins Square Park and follows up with a letter to help Adelphi and move the project forward. Mayor de Blasio didn’t respond to owner or Adelphi.

October 2017, Adelphi University cancels the lease.

  • October 12, 2017 Mayor de Blasio’s states in a public forum that it is in the city’s interest to buy the building and it was a mistake for the Giuliani administration to sell the building. Mayor or his office didn’t reached out and refused to meet or discuss project with owner.
  • December 2017 In good faith, Owner met with Carlina Rivera, the former Chief of Staff to Mendez and the new local city Council Member to discuss the University Square dormitory project and the benefits to the community. Carlina said she could not support the project until she got the support from her “handlers”. She already knew the majority of the community supported the project but it was her “insiders” she had to deal with.
  • May 2018 Owners representatives sent a letter to Mayor de Blasio asking to have a meeting to discuss renovating old PS 64 to support Veterans in their careers, education and shelter, a Veterans Resource Center. The Mayor refused to have a meeting with Owner and/or its representatives to discuss this opportunity for Veterans.
  • September 2018 Owners managing partner sent a letter to  Mayor de Blasio. Owners managing partner asked the Mayor in the letter if he has an alternative vision for the building of a different public use, benefit or purpose. The Mayor has not responded.
  • Despite the Political obstruction ownership continues to try to work with the government , as the managing partner Gregg Singer and his family have done for the past 100 years to see who will take care of this community and allow this “as of right” project to move forward. The project will be a great benefit to the community and that’s why the majority of the community supports the project.
  • Fourth quarter 2018 The Boys Club of New York at 10th Street and Avenue A, one block from old PS 64, goes on the market for sale. The building was renovated in 2017 and has a large swimming pool, basketball court, theater, music practice rooms  etc. and would be a perfect solution to the elected officials claim that they need a community center and a community use. Ownership of old PS 64 offered to buy the Boys Club and lease it to the City of New York for a minimum of 30 years but the City of New York representatives weren’t interested, “no need”.
  • August 23, 2018 Mayor de Blasio states publicly we’ve tried to have a productive conversation about purchase but we’ve gotten nowhere so far. We’re not giving up and Eminent Domain is possible. Mayor or his office still hasn’t reached out and refuses to meet or discuss project with owner.
  • 2018 & 2019 Although the building is vacant and unrenovated without any current lease(s) in place, Elected officials are telling potential non profit tenants that the building is “spoken for” and not available. Ownership finds out that the reason the Elected officials say its spoken for is because Mayor de Blasio wants the building to go to one of his benefactors who has spent several million dollars donating to local non profits and to all of the areas Elected officials including the Mayor to do everything and anything possible to get the building for the benefactor at a cost less than half below value so he can renovate for a college student dormitory. The benefactor has never made an offer to buy the property at market value.
  • March 19, 2020 Owners managing partner sent a letter to Mayor de Blasio offering the building to be used for free during the Coronavirus. The Mayor didn’t have an interest.
  • August 2021 The building has been offered to Baruch College / CUNY at a rent of $500 per bed per month below market for “Affordable Student Housing” as a college student dormitory to be renovated with prevailing wage labor.  Baruch is at 24th street and Lexington Ave and they rent 468 beds, shared with other colleges, at 97th Street and 3rd Ave, some 74 blocks away, while this property is 19 blocks away. Baruch has been wanting their own dorm for over 25 years. Mayor de Blasio would not support this incredible opportunity for Baruch college.  
  • Gregg Singer meets Eric Adams on the campaign trail. After Eric won the democratic primary he said ,  “this nonsense has to stop and once I am elected Mayor we will issue a building permit and move this project forward”.
  • End of November 2021 – End of December 2021  Mayor de Blasio directs the NYC Law Department and the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) to have conversations with Gregg Singer, ownerships managing partner, and the Owner’s lawyers (us & we) to see if a deal can be made.  After several phone meetings and documents sent back and forth, and us being told everything is based on market rents and market values, there was not a meeting of the minds. We were told the last week of December just before Mayor de Blasio was leaving office at the end of his administration that the City of New York (the City) wanted us to lease half the building to them at a rent that was 75% below market value. When we asked what would the City use be they said the City doesn’t have a need for the building but they would lease to non profit corporations at a cheap rent.  Interestingly when ownership did offer a below market rent to non profits the City officials scared them away.  We at least did have productive conversations with the EDC and they said their stance was not that of the EDC but of Mayor de Blasio and that a new administration may be different.
  •  Ownership has given the Mayor de Blasio administration many opportunities to make a deal to move forward with the renovation of the building for any legal use allowed by zoning but he had refused to take care of the community and owners rights.
  • January 2022 Mayor Eric Adams takes office and we are hopeful that he will see to it that this property be redeveloped and any red tape and bureaucratic inertia overcome, to allow this property to be put back into productive use creating construction and permanent jobs and a myriad of direct and indirect ancillary benefits to the community while restoring a building with a landmark façade. New leadership and fresh thinking is more than welcome.
  • First Quarter of 2022. Ownership representatives have reached out to Mayor Eric Adams, Chief of Staff Frank Carone, Chief Advisor to the Mayor Ingrid Lewis-Martin and Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer and to date none of them are interested in having conversations leading to the renovation and restoration of the building regardless of any use of the building.
  • Second Quarter of 2022. Owner representatives also reached out to the new Department of Buildings Commissioner Eric Ulrich but he had no interest in discussing getting a building permit for the building for any use. Interestingly Gregg Singer met with Eric when he was a City Council member and at that time in May 2018 Eric tried to help move the project forward but Mayor deBlasio shut him down.
  • The above is a small sample of the hundreds of documents/exhibits which are part of state and federal lawsuits in order to eliminate the building from staying a vacant eyesore in the community and put to productive use to benefit the City of New York.

Owners Managing Partner, Gregg Singer can be contacted at:      [email protected]