Judge orders developer to sell old P.S. 64 as two-decade-long fight to reclaim building still going strong

January 03, 2023

Originally published in The Village Sun on January 01, 2023.

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Supporters of CHARAS El Bohio rallied outside the old P.S. 64 on Dec. 17 to mark the 21st anniversary of the Puerto Rican-led group’s eviction from the historic and now long-vacant building.

The old school, which straddles the block from Ninth Street to 10th Street east of Avenue B, has sat empty since developer Gregg Singer — who purchased it for $3.2 million in 1998 — kicked out CHARAS at the end of 2001. However, community activists, local politicians and City Hall have frustrated Singer’s various schemes to redevelop the structure, most recently as a university dorm. The property carries a “community use” deed restriction that bars residential use, for which a zoning change would be needed.

In huge news for CHARAS supporters, who want the building restored as a community center, five days after the rally, a judge ordered the foreclosure and sale of the property. The property, which is valued at upward of $100 million, must be sold within 90 days. It’s unclear, however, if Singer will try to appeal the order.

“We are excited to finally have the opportunity to return the building to full community use, and are ready to work with Mayor Adams to restore this once vibrant community hub,” said Carlos “Chino” Garcia, a co-founder of CHARAS.