Pelham Grand is now leased to group helping people with HIV, but landlord can opt out of the lease until end of August

Electeds are shining a ray of hope for an alternate senior housing plan for the Pelham Grand building in Pelham Bay.

The long vacant hospital building, last fully used by Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center’s D’urso Pavilion, has been leased as of July 1 to ASCNYC (Allied Service Center), a group known for servicing people with HIV.

But a letter of agreement between ASCNYC and the property’s landlord gives the building owner the option of opting out of the lease until the end of August, according to multiple independently-verified sources. Local elected officials are advocating for two developers who are attempting to obtain funding for senior housing there, answering a Request for Proposals from the state Department of Health.

Senior Housing Push

Senator Jeff Klein and Councilman Jimmy Vacca are advocating for an alternate plan that needs to take shape in the next few weeks.

Klein said that in May he was contacted by a senior housing group, later identified as Elderserve and Housing Bridge, who are now in the process of applying for state funds. The housing, if it comes to fruition, would provide homes for “frail elderly” seniors, basically meaning seniors needing extra assistance to go about their daily living.

“I think we have a month to convince the owner the property that this is the way to go,” said Klein of the frail elderly proposal.

Klein added: “We now want the community, as well as all of the elected officials who are there already, to be proactive and support this proposal.”

“I am hoping that the owner exercises his opportunity to reconsider having senior housing at that site,” said Vacca. “This is what the neighborhood expected when the hospital closed.”

Vacca explained that after Our Lady of Mercy closed, the building at 1870 Pelham Parkway South was leased to a developer who planned on senior housing, and began to adapt the space for wheelchair accessible areas and wall railings.

The Current Tenant

Meanwhile, about a dozen people in a ASCNYC residential program were moved into the building in mid-July, said the organization’s CEO Sharen Duke. The non-profit has leased the entire building with the exception of a small common area on the first floor, the basement and an undeveloped 5th floor, she added. The lease is for three years with two options to renew, totaling nine years, she stated.

Their plan, stated Duke, is to have 70 units for program participants, one unit for a super, and an agency office.

The program is for single adults, both men and women, who are primarily Medicaid eligible, she said.

Her organization is responsible for all maintenance at the building, and has a 24/7 security team, two members of which are from the local neighborhood, she said. She also plans on using local vendors for some catered events, she said. Duke said she believes ASCNYC is bringing economic opportunity to the community, and helping by filling a long-vacant building.

ASCNYC will be hosting a community open house at the facility on Sunday, August 24, she added. Tours will be given, and any family that wants can receive a free 8”x10” self or family portrait.

She and the landlord are both committed to making the “transition” a success, Duke said.

“We are also going to be creating a community advisory council for the Pelham Grand, and we are going to be asking the community board’s assistance in identifying a couple of community members who may be interested,” she said.

She added: “Truthfully, at the end of the day, this is a win-win for everyone,” said Duke. “It is a win for the community, it is a win for local businesses, and it is a win for the recipients of services.”

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 742–3393. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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