Boys’ Club says not seeking waiver

The Boys’ Club of New York is denying accusations that it is trying to get a waiver for the sale of its Milliken Clubhouse at E. Houston and Pitt Sts. to allow the property to be used for other than nonprofit community facility or institutional uses.

Councilmember Margarita Lopez and Harvey Epstein, chairperson of Community Board 3, both said they understood that the Boys’ Club sought a waiver.

However, Carol Abrams, a Department of Housing Development and Preservation spokesperson, said, “The Boys’ Club has not sought a waiver from H.P.D.” Parts of the property have a deed restriction for institutional use as a community-use facility because the site was part of the El Pueblo Nuevo urban renewal area. The deed restriction expires in 2015, but Board 3 also put restrictions on the property requiring that it be owned by a nonprofit organization in perpetuity.

“I made it very clear that I am not going to allow that clubhouse to be sold,” Lopez said, “because that land on which it is built is an urban renewal site.”

Brad Zervas, Boys’ Club executive director, said, “The Boys’ Club of New York is seeking absolutely no changes in the disposition of H.P.D.’s stated guidelines for the part of the property where their guidelines have jurisdiction. We just met with H.P.D. They still have questions they need to resolve on their end. This is a slow-moving process.”

Epstein said the Parks Department has expressed some interest in turning the clubhouse, which contains a large indoor pool, into a city-operated recreational facility. At Board 3’s Housing Committee meeting last week, Mike Pollo, an H.P.D. representative, said the Boys’ Club could demolish the building and build what it wants on the parts of the property that don’t have the restrictions. But he said H.P.D. would have to first approve any plans.