SENIORS STRIKE DEAL WITH SALVATION ARMY TO VACATE WEST END AVENUE RESIDENCE

williams residence3

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:

Salvation Army Agreement by westsiderag

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 23 comments | permalink
    1. 21D says:

      This is heartbreaking.

    2. robert says:

      Just curious as why this is being reported now? This settlemet was announced a while ago.
      Also where are the “self appointed” community leaders and elected’s that said this sale is illegal, unfair etc. The media should be going after then for not fighting the codification of this sale in the agreement mostly along the lines of the original deal.

      That said, I would rather they residents be able to stay there. It tells you something about the state of things when an organization like the Salvation Army is in such a need of cash to agree to this deal.

      • West Sider says:

        We reported the preliminary details of the settlement a few months ago, but wanted to post the finalized information and documents. WSR

    3. Justina says:

      The Salvation Army is just like any other money grubbing organization. My Dad lived in the Williams House for many, many years. Not that the service was so great, but the location was fabulous. From West 95th to East 125th, what are you kidding me? All these residents have their doctors and other necessities close by. Not easy for an older person to move. Some don’t have family to help them. Another #DeBlasio #Fail

      • Eva yachnes says:

        Why are you blaming DeBlasio? There is nothing he or any other mayor could have done to save our homes. You can’t prevent the Salvation Army from selling its property or force them to keep it as a residence for seniors even if you prevent the sale. Several city council members fought hard on our side. We fought for our homes by getting a pro bono lawyer.

        As it is, we got better terms than other places the Salvation Army sold, where people had to leave in as little a six months.

      • Claire says:

        And he has what to do with this exactly? Get over it, you’re going to be stuck with him for the next 6 years.

      • jsf says:

        DeBlasio Fail? You must be joking! Our city Leader were squarely behind us – contacting the Army on our behalf, standing with us at demonstrations and so on. Look beyond the superficial! Where were you when we demonstrated, standing on Broadway asking for your help.

    4. Kindly Dr. Dave says:

      This is a disgrace. The Salvation Army will lose all of my charitable contributions as a result. I call on my fellow citizens to protest with their pockets. Cut out funding to “charities” that abuse elder citizens. Please spread the word. If money talks to these greedy people, cut their feeding tubes.

    5. Elizabeth Shackelford says:

      What is the matter with the Salvation Army? They are totally violating their mission, sellling their souls for 30 pieces of silver

    6. 21D says:

      Easy kindly Doctor. The Salvation Army probably serves a good function and may itself be trying to survive. That said, I wish there were a way to save these people’s homes. Why can’t they convert the apartments as they become available?

    7. diane says:

      I’m a real estate agent and I live at 96th and West End. I’m so damn tired of all this luxury conversion crap! How about recognizing that some things should STAY in the neighborhoods they’re in. Eight years from now we will not recognize the NYC skyline for all the new luxury high rise buildings going up–so the rich can add to their real estate portfolios. That’s all this is. And we Upper West Siders better be ware because I think there are some taller than we want buildings coming to the hood.

      • 21D says:

        Who is responsible for regulating development in the city? Is the hideous “building” on 56th and Park Bloomberg’s legacy? How can an ordinary citizen fight the developers? WSR?

    8. Debbie D. says:

      I work for a not-for-profit here in the city (ie: manhattan). We have had similar problems and made similar decisions and the reasons are simple: money.

      The not-for-profit world, especially for these kinds of agencies, runs on very tight budgets. Operating in NYC, especially manhattan, is crazy expensive. And when you are offered the opportunity to have a significant income, it is hard to pass up. Here is the math:

      $108 million dollars is an incredible amount of money. It can pay for all sorts of services. New programs, extending funding to struggling programs, giving out more to the community… its huge.

      The location: There is no reason why they have to run residences in expensive neighborhoods. They could serve similar populations running out of Harlem, the Heights, Queens… and save money.

      That being said, they did a really crap job handling this whole thing, and the way it went down is a disservice to those they are here to help.

      • Margaret says:

        Couple counterpoints, just as I understand them.

        – these were market-rate residences, not subsidized by the Salvation Army. As I understand it, the SA as a nonprofit did get tax breaks on the property from the public, but these weren’t passed through to the residents

        – I thought AG Schneiderman could only approve the deal if the property was sold at market value. I’m not an appraiser, but $108 million sounds like they sold it for less than market. The former Lincoln Square synagogue sold for $275 million in October

        – is SA saying they will freeze the rents of units on East 125th Street at the price the seniors were paying for homes at 95th and West End? The neighborhoods aren’t comparable in market rent

        Agree with the commenter above: heartbreaking

      • jsf says:

        That sounded great. But let’s look a little closer. The Salvation Army bought this piece of property in the early 60’s – when you took your life in your hands walking from Brodway. But there’s a helluva difference between 95th St. & 125th St. & Third Ave. Followed the news lately? And does being a senior mean that we are LESS entitled to a decent place than you? Besides, check your facts. The Army sits on 22 BILLION in assets.

        • curious says:

          curiosity here – if you’re paying market rate rent do you not have enough time to find another neighborhood in this market or were there services offered at the Williams that wouldn’t be available elsewhere? I haven’t had time to track this story too closely

    9. URBAN MAVEN PhD says:

      The Residents of The Williams got a very bad deal from the Salvation Army- no doubt about that! Unhappily the NYS AG should have known better and done much more to protect them than simply utter cheap words. Doesn’t the AG understand that relocating advanced age Seniors often shortens lives? That remaining in one’s familiar long term neighborhood as one ages is also very important to maintaining a viable life?

      Shame on the Salvation Army and on the AG. and where were the Mayor and the Housing Court re all this? Hmmmmmmm

      It appears that talk is cheaper and cheaper…..

    10. Frank says:

      Why is the venue of the action in Rockland County? Shouldn’t it be in New York County (Manhattan)?

      • Eva Yachnes says:

        The hearing was in Rockland county because that is where the Salvation Army is incorporated. As for the Salvation Army needing the money, it is the second richest religious charity in the country, second only to the Catholic church.

    11. jsf says:

      A bunch of us, along with members of city government, tried to work this outwith the Army. There really was NO reason except the desire for profit, to upend our lives, cause us great stress, anxiety and more. The stated reason was that the funds received could be put to BETTER (?) use. We seniors are not as worthy in terms of the” Better use” to which the funds could be put. So much for Deus Caritas! It’s done! We signed an agreement. We needed community support during the process. Seniors are, apparently, ependable

    12. beebee says:

      I stopped donating goods, etc to SA when I started hearing what they were trying to do to these seniors. SA is a big business that has done shady things in the past. Remember 9/11 donations that the SA decided to keep a portion for whatever they wanted to do with them? And what’s with the $500 seniors get who don’t move to the 125th St location? Most landlords are offering at a minimum $3,000. These people got shafted royally.