The residents of the Williams Residence at 95th street and West End Avenue will have to leave their apartments following the sale of the building, but they can stay until at least the end of 2017.
A settlement between the residents and the Salvation Army was signed a few months ago in State Supreme Court. It stipulates that the residents can stay until Dec. 31, 2017, or until a new Salvation Army residence is completed on East 125th street, whichever is later. The Williams, which opened in 1965, is not a nursing home; it’s an apartment building that offers some services to seniors, including physical therapy and meals.
A few years ago, the Salvation Army agreed to sell the building to a developer for $108 million to turn it into luxury housing. Residents, some of whom had expected to live there for the rest of their lives — at least two are over 100 years old and some are Holocaust survivors — said they were blindsided. They fought the deal and won the support of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who said it “threatens to force some of New York’s most vulnerable citizens from their homes and may violate tenant protection laws.” We broke the story about the sale in 2014 and reported on a tentative deal between the seniors and Salvation Army here.
Residents who decide not to move to the new facility will get $500. Those that do move will have their rents frozen for three years following the move. Eva Yachnes, a current resident, tells us she loves the Upper West Side, so it’s a tough decision as to whether to move to the new building. “I’m torn about what to do. I would like to stay in the UWS for many reasons. For one thing, I belong to Ethical Culture and go there two or three times a week for various activities. On most days when I go I get my exercise by walking down from the Williams.”
Salvation Army officials did not respond to a request for comment.
The mayor has undertaken an effort to expand senior housing in the city. He’ll be on the Upper West Side on Wednesday to discuss it.
Check out the full agreement about The Williams below: