Troubled tower has new owners


Updated Oct. 10.

A new management company has closed on its purchase of the area’s tallest building, the Promenade at 150 W. 225th St.

The Oct. 2 sale launches the Marble Hill building’s transition from the Mitchell-Lama Program to a new arrangement designed to curb rents and preserve middle class homes.

Some tenants are hoping the new owners may finally deal with their recurring complaints.

They say they have paid rent for years while the owners have neglected the 32-story tower, failing to invest in maintenance and repairs.

Complaints include elevators that do not operate for weeks at a time, a heating system that frequently fails to work during the winter months and hot water that pours only sporadically from taps and showerheads. 

The previous owners, the Aaron Diamond Estate-run Promenade Apartments, Inc., struggled to finance the capital projects necessary to maintain the 318-unit building constructed in 1972. Under the Mitchell-Lama program, the state offered developers generous mortgage deals, including low interest rates and property tax exemptions in exchange for agreements to keep rents affordable for middle-income tenants.

After Promenade Apartments paid its mortgage and completed two 20-year cycles of its agreement, it became eligible to opt out of Mitchell-Lama. 

Complaints about building maintenance then seemed to multiply.

Robert Nelson, the founder and owner of Nelson Management, Ltd., said the company purchased the Promenade because he believes it can maintain affordability for residents by dissolving Mitchell-Lama and drafting a 40-year regulatory agreement with the city Departent of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).

“This is our specialty,” Mr. Nelson said. “We’re excited about coming into a property as prestigious as Promenade Apartments and being able to solve some of the long-standing problems that tenants have been dealing with.”

Nelson Management bought the property overlooking the Harlem River after creating the HP Promenade Housing Development Fund Company, Inc. (HDFC), a housing development fund corporation. 

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