Activists and neighbors will gather Wednesday for a vigil at Rivington House, the former Lower East Side nursing home for HIV/AIDS patients now slated for a condo conversion, to mourn the loss of the services they say were vital to their community and to call for compensation for the lost 219 nursing home beds.
Community members have tirelessly pushed for the return of the structure at 45 Rivington St. since it was shuttered over two years ago, when the Allure Group purchased the building only to have the city lift a deed restriction ensuring it remained a health care facility, then sell it to Slate Property Group for a condo conversion.
Protesters at the vigil, called “Hands Around Our House,” will join hands to physically surround the building in a show of solidarity with the community. But ultimately the goal of the vigil is to take direct action in demanding compensation for the lost nursing home, said an organizer.
“We’re trying to put pressure on everyone — everyone who needs pressure — to say . . . buyers, come back to the table and reach a real conclusion with this community, with the community board, with the electeds, with us, to resolve this situation,” said Kay Webster of Neighbors to Save Rivington House, which is hosting the action.
The office of then-Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in November of last year reached a settlement with the Allure Group following an investigation into the scandal, requiring Allure to build a new health care facility in the Lower East Side and to pay $1.25 million to local nonprofit organizations.
Activists remain skeptical of the deal, however, noting the settlement does not stipulate the facility must be a nursing home, but may be any health care facility providing long-term care to the elderly or disabled.
Webster said the Allure representatives have reached out to schedule a meeting with her group.
The Allure Group did not immediately return requests for comment.
A representative for Slate said the team overseeing the Rivington House project and others has met with local community leaders and will continue to do so.
Meanwhile, building permits have been filed to begin demolition work inside Rivington House, though a partial stop-work order remains on the property, restricting the type of work that can be done.
The vigil will take place from 4 to 7 p.m.