Gregg Singer’s East Village PS 64 building hits the market

605 East 9th Street and Paul Wexler and Josef Yadgarov (Loopnet, Corcoran) of the Corcoran Group

A vacant East Village property that has been subject to foreclosure and opposition to potential development is now on the market.

Gregg Singer has listed the former 64 Public School building at 605 East Ninth Street for sale or lease as a medical or educational center, according to a SEO on Loopnet. Sorrow EV was the first to report the listing.

No asking price is given for the five-story, 152,000-square-foot building that has stood empty for about 20 years. The listing suggests the century-old property can be turned into student dormitories, assisted living, 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 hopes to find an anchor tenant, according to listing broker Paul Wexler of the Corcoran Group. The singer could not be reached for comment.

The listing of the former primary school is the latest of his many 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 at the city auction, reportedly evicted the community center in 2001.

The fate of the building has been at the center of a legal battle involving Singer and its own investors, community groups, conservators and city officials.

Singer wanted to turn the building into a college dormitory, but those plans never materialized. The developer claimed that the Buildings Department, under pressure from city council members opposed to his plans, had repeatedly found excuses to deny him permits.

Singer’s efforts have also been thwarted for years by local activists who, like their politicians, have called for the building to be returned to community use. At the start of the pandemic, Singer offered free use of the property as a triage center for people with Covid.

Financial difficulties arose in the property in 2016. Madison Realty Capital provided Singer with a $44 million loan on the building, but court records showed he failed to repay the balance by its due date in April of that year. In September, the lender filed for foreclosure.

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 owned the property and the lender had not foreclosed. Madison Realty Capital declined a request for comment.

Singer told the Wall Street Journal in 2018 that he invested more than $60 million in the property, including $35 million in interest and $5 million in legal fees. He sued the city that year in federal court, alleging a conspiracy to block its 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 that the city agency had a stop work order from 2015 and a full evacuation order from 2019 on the property.

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