When New York City was closed in March 2020, food delivery organization God’s Love We Deliver received 3,500 calls from people seeking help over the course of a weekend. By the end of June of that year, the number of daily meals it was producing had increased by 2,500.
Founded in 1986 to serve home AIDS patients since then, the organization, which has expanded its mission over the years, has invited additional caseworkers and nutritionists. This squeezed space at the Soho headquarters, a non-profit organization.
“We have moved from a pandemic to a pandemic,” said Karen Pearl, President and Chief Executive Officer of God’s Love We Deliver.
However, due to the combination of quirky real estate law and timing, nonprofits are set to expand their business to long vacant buildings where God’s love requires very specific tenants to meet the bill. I am. The organization has signed a four-year lease to occupy the historic building of West Village, officially the clinic Northern Dispensary.
“It’s like Kismet,” said Pearl.
The Northern Clinic was built in 1831 and served the poor inhabitants of the northern part of the city at the time. The brick building, which sits on a triangular land and is itself triangular in shape, has a limestone plaque that says “heal the sick.”
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In one of these New York’s only real estate stories, the three-story landmark remained nearly empty as long as God’s love existed. This is strange in a neighborhood where all buildings and parcels are popular items.
And for over thirty years, the building at the intersection of Christopher Street and Wavery Place seemed destined to remain empty.
A man who bought an abandoned building in 1998 — William Gottlieb, an eccentric and disturbed character, drove a beat-up station wagon and carried papers in a shopping bag — picking up real estate. , Tend to sit there. He eventually owned about 100 real estate properties in West Village, Meatpacking District, Chelsea and the Lower East Side. This was a $ 1 billion worth of portfolio at one point. After his death in 1999, the family fought for control of his real estate empire.
However, the northern clinic, where Edgar Allan Poe is said to have been treated for the common cold, was unique among the possessions of William Gottlieb Real Estate. Certificate restrictions dating back to the early 19th century require buildings to be used to serve the poor and the poor, thus excluding conversions to luxury condominiums and rental properties, for example. ..
If the building remains empty (windowpanes crack and paint peels off), Gottlieb’s nephew Neil Bender, along with his wife Marika, is currently managing William Gottlieve Real Estate, at least in this particular respect. Then it seemed to follow in the footsteps of my uncle. property.
“People keep in touch with us for years,” said Corey Johnson, chairman of the New York City Council. “Why is this beautiful building vacant?”
Then the love of God entered the picture.
In 2019, the vendor attended one of the annual fundraising concerts. They began donating eggs and microgreens to the organization from a farm in Tivoli, NY. When they learned that nonprofits needed space, they proposed a northern clinic.
“We fit naturally,” Benders said in a statement.
Currently, they agree to make the building accessible to people with disabilities and to remodel the building with a new HVAC system and rewiring. The floors and walls are in good condition, said Scott Henson, principal of Henson Architecture, the company held for the project. The mantelpiece of the fireplace and other historical features of the 190-year-old Federal-style building are preserved.
The plan must be submitted to the local community committee and landmark conservation committee. God’s love expects to move staff to the building early next year.
A monthly rent of $ 5,800 is a fraction of what a building of this size would normally get. This allows nonprofits with an annual budget of $ 27 million to deliver food to all five provinces, and despite its name, dedicate it to those who have no religious affiliations and need more resources. I can do it.
“I feel right to be in a place where history was a healing place for the sick,” said Pearl. Some office workers will move to the clinic, but meals will continue to be prepared and distributed from Soho, about 12 blocks south of the 10,000-square-foot kitchen.
The fact that the building is in an area where AIDS is rampant and God’s love put a lot of effort into the early days — interestingly, the dental clinic, the last tenant of Northern Dispensary before 30 years of vacancy. , Closed in 1989. Refusing to take care of men with AIDS — especially traumatic for some.
“It’s really beautiful and meaningful to take them to the center of West Village,” said Johnson, a gay man who has been HIV-positive for 17 years. “They couldn’t find any more suitable space.”