Monday, 27 June 2016

Embattled Conversion of P.S. 64 Into Dorm Back On With Major Loan

The conversion of the East Village’s landmarked school is back on—for now

The embattled redevelopment of the East Village’s P.S. 64 into a dorm seems to have gotten a boost. Per the Commercial Observer (h/t EV Grieve), developer Gregg Singer has secured a $44 million construction loan from Madison Realty Capital to convert the long-empty school on East 9th street between avenues B and C into a 225-room dormitory with accommodations for 535 students.

The property hasn’t been used by the city as a school since the 1970s, and has been vacant since before Singer acquired it at auction in 1998. The conversion of the landmarked property has been a long, uphill battle for Singer. In December, word broke that a group of financial backers were suing Singer for allegedly pocketing funds from the conversion.

The community has been adamant that the school, a 152,000-square-foot building last valued at $78 million, be converted into a community facility, as its deed mandates. It’s a controversial time in the city to be muffing with deed restrictions, but last summer it was reported that the much-in-need Joffrey Ballet School signed on as a tenant just a month before the Department of Buildings issued a Stop Work Order at the site. Whether the Stop Work Order was a result of the deed restriction, or because Singer was moving ahead with work without a tenant and lenders tired of his antics is unclear.

In any case, the conversion continues to plod along. Commercial Observer reports that the loan will allow Singer to "retire the existing indebtedness." It will also supply funds for pre-development.


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