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UWS Senior Citizens Oppose Plan To Relocate Residence To East Harlem

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some Upper West Side senior citizens are pleading with the owners of their apartment building to let them stay after the building was put up for sale, forcing them to relocate to East Harlem.

“They want me to go somewhere else,” said Lillian Blumberg.

As CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported, Blumberg is just one of many seniors who feel they’re being forced from their homes at the Williams Residence on 95th Street and West End Avenue.

“Everybody moved in with the expectation that we would be able to be here for the rest of our lives,” said Eliot Loshak.

The Salvation Army owns the building and recently unveiled plans to sell it to a developer for more than $100 million.

The organization said it needed the money to renovate a community center on East 125th Street in Harlem and build a 250-unit senior apartment building above it.

“State of the art facility, very efficient facility. A place where folks can come — a purpose building” said Major James Betts, with the Salvation Army.

Those who already live in the Williams Residence are guaranteed a spot, Brown reported. They have six months to decide, but those who don’t go won’t be allowed to stay at the Williams Residence either.

“I’ve lived my whole life on the Upper WestSide, that’s where I want to stay,” said Loshak.

“I don’t care if they make that building glamorous. What about being afraid to walk out in the streets,” said Adele Gold.

“You got all drug addicts hanging out there at night,” said Howard Hirschberg.

Betts said he disagrees with that perception, but added the organization is committed to making it a smooth transition for residents — whether they stay or go.

“They don’t have to tell us today or even tomorrow. And then we are prepared to keep them in their current facility until the new facility is completed,” he said.

Blumberg said she’s still not sure what she’ll do.

“I don’t know anything about that location, that’s Harlem,” she said. “I need to go down and case it someday, but in the meantime I don’t know.”

The entire deal has to be approved by a judge and reviewed by the New York State Attorney General’s Office, which regulate charities.

Many senior residents and some lawmakers said they’re now looking for ways to block the approval.

The Salvation Army of Greater New York told CBS 2 necessary renovations to the current building would have cost tens of millions of dollars.

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