City Partially Lifts Year-old Stop-Work Order at Rivington House
Here we go…
The Department of Buildings last week lifted, in part, the stop-work order on Rivington House. It was first issued by the city fourteen months ago, in the wake of the budding scandal revolving around the controversial deed lifting and subsequent condo flip.
The partial rescind is causing concern amongst neighborhood activists and elected officials who fear this could normalize the push for luxury condos, while the city claims this will allow for “exploratory work” onsite.
According to the New York Post, Rivington House advocates Tessa Huxley and Harriet Cohen penned a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio on June 6 stating: “This ‘exploratory work’ allows for the ‘miscellaneous removal of areas of flooring, walls and ceiling finishes throughout the existing building in order to expose the existing structure and masonry elements … for future renovations. We believe that this could well do permanent damage to the property as well as foreclose options that may yet result from outstanding investigations.”
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer wasn’t pleased, either. In her own letter to Hizzoner, she wrote, “I am perplexed as to why my office did not receive direct notice from DOB regarding the change to the Stop Work Order on this property.”
However, a DOB spokesperson insists that the owners are not being allowed to convert the property into condos.
“It does not allow [the owners] to make any alterations and the stop-work order for the condo conversion project remains in effect,” Buildings Department spokesman Joe Soldevere said.
The Allure Group purchased the Rivington House from VillageCare in 2015 for $28 million, paid the city $16.1 million to lift a restrictive deed, then sold the property to developers Slate Property Group, China Vanke Co., and Adam America Real Estate for $116 million. All along, Mayor de Blasio has maintained that he had no knowledge of the land deal; city officials also charge that the Allure Group intentionally misled them about intentions.