A vacant East Village property that has faced foreclosure and opposition to its possible development is now on the market.
Gregg Singer listed the former Public School 64 building at 605 East Ninth Street for sale or lease as a medical or educational center, according to a listing on LoopNet. EV Grieve was first to report the listing.
No asking price is given for the five-floor, 152,000-square-foot building that has sat empty for roughly 20 years. The listing suggests the century-old property can be turned into student dorms, assisted living, a medical center, nursing home, satellite campus or education center, as Singer has been trying to do for many years.
Singer intends to redevelop the property and is hoping to find an anchor tenant, according to listing broker Paul Wexler of the Corcoran Group. Singer could not be reached for comment.
The listing of the former elementary school is the latest of his numerous attempts to bring the property back to life.
The building became the CHARAS/El Bohio Community Center after the school left in 1977. Singer, who bought the building for $3.15 million in the late 1990s from the city at auction, reportedly evicted the community center in 2001.
The building’s fate has been at the center of a legal fight involving Singer and his own investors, community groups, preservationists and city officials.
Singer wanted to turn the building into a college dorm, but those plans never came to fruition. The developer claimed the Department of Buildings, pressured by City Council members opposed to his plans, repeatedly came up with excuses to deny him permits.
Singer’s efforts have also been stymied for years by local activists who, like their politicians, have called for the building to be returned to community use. During the early days of the pandemic, Singer offered free use of the property as a triage center for people with Covid.
Financial woes emerged at the property in 2016. Madison Realty Capital provided Singer with a $44 million loan on the building, but court records showed that he failed to repay the balance by its maturity date in April of that year. By that September, the lender filed to foreclose.
A state judge ruled earlier this year that Madison could move forward with a foreclosure against Singer after years of delay. However, Wexler said Singer still owns the property and the lender did not foreclose. Madison Realty Capital declined a request for comment.
Singer told the Wall Street Journal in 2018 he had put more than $60 million into the property, including $35 million in interest and $5 million in legal fees. He sued the city that year in federal court, claiming a conspiracy to block his development efforts.
The property, located between Avenues B and C near Tompkins Square Park, has various open fines and violations with the Department of Buildings. EV Grieve reported the city agency has a stop work order from 2015 and a full vacate order from 2019 on the property.