The Brooklyn Supreme Court has set a date to determine the fate of 211 Ainslie Street.
On November 9 the court will begin addressing the issues plaguing the center, following its sale to developers Harry and Victor Einhorn.
This announcement comes following Governor Andrew Cuomo’s veto of a proposal by local elected officials to acquire the property through eminent domain.
The plaintiffs, the Conselyea Street Block Association (CSBA), St. Nicks Alliance and New York City, support maintaining Small World and Swinging Sixties, the long-running daycare and senior care centers at the facility. They claim the purchase made by the developers in 2013 should be voided because the existing tenants at the time were not given an option to purchase the property.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs assert that the former owner of the property, Robert Fiduccia, was required, by law, to offer the tenants a chance to purchase the property before selling it to the Einhorns. They are now arguing that any purchase by the City or CSBA be made at the 2013 sale price and not one set by the Einhorns.
The property sold for $4.5 million in November 2013.
“I have been crystal clear, since day one of my administration, that I will not accept any settlement of the contested ownership at 211 Ainslie Street that does not ensure that critical community space for Williamsburg’s young and young at heart is protected and preserved,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who has contributed over $1 million towards its purchase since its financial troubles commenced a few years ago. “The robust grassroots activism that this case has fostered has been truly heartening, and it is a key reason, along with the hard work of the City and local leaders, why the road to resolution for Small World Day Care and Swinging Sixties Senior Center is in clear sight.”
According to St. Nicks Alliance, attendance at the daycare center spiked last year, and there is currently a waiting list of students hoping to attend the program. In addition, the senior center is visited by over a 100 local elderly residents. The center is also home to monthly meetings of the local community board.
“I visit the senior center and day care center regularly, and understand that this is a vital community resource,” said Councilman Antonio Reynoso, who has also contributed towards the center’s upkeep and purchase. “I have been arrested calling on the Mayor to intervene in the illegal sale of this building, and have allocated resources toward ensuring that the senior center and day care center can remain at this site. This is a huge priority for me and I will continue to fight until 211’s future is secured.”
According to a press release sent out last week by St. Nick’s Alliance, the group is confident that all parties involved will reach a settlement before the trial commences in November.
When asked if St. Nick’s would purchase the property, if negotiations between the city and the Einhorns fell through, Executive Director Michael Rochford said, “Yes. The community believes it has legal right to purchase and strongly prefers to acquire to protect use as a daycare and senior center.”