Crumbling community center threatening nearby buildings

EAST VILLAGE -- A city landmark is creating big problems as it falls further into disrepair.

“We’ve had masonry even fall off the building, and as I have two little kids this is a continuing disturbing situation,” said Jason Goodrow, who lives in the apartment building right next to the now shuttered Charas Community Center and school on East 10th Street.

Wednesday Goodrow and his neighbors even had to be evacuated for four hours because of structural safety concerns next door.

“We were given an all clear,” Goodrow reflected upon a day later. “I hope that really is the case, and that the spider cracks on the east facing wall, while they’ve been there, have gotten worse. It’s right above my bedroom so that’s pretty concerning.”

The building was sold to a private development company led by Greg Singer almost 20 years ago. Since then, community leaders said it sat empty and racked up more than 20 serous building department violations.

“It’s not fair to this community, and we deserve a lot better,” Councilwoman Carlina Rivera said.

At a rally Thursday, Rivera and others pressed Mayor de Blasio to keep a two-year-old promise to resolve this situation. They want him to use eminent domain and other measures to pressure the ownership into returning the building to public use.

The mayor’s spokesman said via e-mail the administration is in touch with ownership and exploring options.

The developer said in a statement all engineering reports show the building is in good condition. He said the city is creating an abandoned building by blocking him from creating a much needed 225-unit dorm for nearby schools.

Those at Thursday’s rally rejected the idea of developing the building into anything that did not include public space was a non-starter.

Councilmember Rivera is promising to make this an issue during budget negotiations with the mayor, which officially kicked off Thursday.

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