A mysterious benefactor has purchased the historic Boys’ Club building in the East Village for $32 million with the promise of preserving the space for community use, sources said Thursday.
The buyer, who bought the land as a foundation, wants to remain anonymous, according to the sources, one of whom said he had to sign a non-disclosure agreement as part of the deal.
“It’s going to be a community facility,”the source said. “It’ll be good for the neighborhood. It’ll be good for the city.”
The Boys’ Club of New York announced it would be selling its 118-year-old East Village building on the corner of Ave. A and 10th St. last year, prompting speculation the land would be used for luxury housing in the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood.
The building, known as the Harriman Clubhouse, stands catty-corner from Tompkins Square Park and has provided after-school programs to the neighborhood since 1901. The Boys Club promised to stay in the East Village at another location, but said it was selling the building to bolster it’s programs in the South Bronx and East New York.
The purchase has been finalized, according to the source who signed the NDA.
Denham Wolf, the real estate firm that handled the deal for the buyer, said in a press statement that the foundation that purchased the seven-story, 50,000-square-foot building “intends to ensure the ongoing nonprofit ownership of the property and to carry forward the building’s legacy of community-facing programs.”
It described the deal as the first step in an “anticipated multi-transaction process,” designed to “preserve the building for community use.”
The firm did not immediately respond to questions about the next steps in the process.
“When a valuable property becomes available, many nonprofits struggle to stack up against other buyers,” said Denham Wolf’s co-president Paul Wolf. “We are proud to provide nonprofits with additional time and flexibility in pursuing this property, and to play a role in upending the rules of New York’s real estate market.”
Wolf predicted the deal would “prove replicable.”
A city Finance Department spokeswoman said the agency has not yet received a submission to record the deed as a public record, which would provide clues into the identity of the property’s new owner.
State Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-East Village), who fought to keep the Boys Club from leaving after the impending sale was announced, said he was heartened by the new development.
“It seems like an angel purchaser has stepped in,” he said. “While I wish that the Boys Club would remain in that building, this is the next best thing.”
“I’m thrilled that it is not a developer who is going to build luxury condominiums,” he added.
Democratic Assemblyman Harvey Epstein, who also represents the area, said he would have preferred the Boys’ Club to stay as it was.
“We couldn’t keep it open, but we get to keep the building, which is important for the community.”