On Wednesday, after the special HCDPA meeting, First Ward supervisor Sarah Sterling accosted Galvan representatives Rick Scalera and Dan Kent, demanding to know why they were quadrupling the rent for Promise Neighborhood. Scalera revealed that the apartments in the building were renting for "$275 or $350 a month," and the rent on the storefront had to be increased to subsidize the rents on the apartments. He explained that before Galvan stepped in, Housing Resources was operating at a loss of $100,000 a year, and Galvan had provided $700,000 to bail them out. He asserted the action was needed to make the building and the organization fiscally sustainable. Scalera and Kent maintained that $3,200 a month was the market rate for commercial space; Sterling, who is a real estate agent, called it "ridiculously high."
Sterling argued that the benefits to the community provided not only by Promise Neighborhoods but also by the two shops in the Warren Street storefronts should be taken into consideration by Galvan, an organization that professes to promote "affordable housing and related services to low-income disadvantaged persons." In a subsequent email to Scalera and other elected officials, Sterling praised the contribution of Promise Neighborhood's director, Joan E. Hunt, and the positive presence of the office in the neighborhood:
The sidewalk on 2nd is now clean at all times and happy people visit and work there. The neighborhood is much improved because of Joan's efforts. I know as I must drive or walk by at least 2 times a day. The last time city officials were meeting about zoning changes there was a universal interest in having more neighborhood mom and pop stores to restore a sense of community in various areas of the City. Certainly my neighborhood in the First Ward utilizes the corner store. Are we to lose all sense of community? Are we really expected to believe that the Second Street location of around 1500 sq ft will rent for $3,200?????
I rest my case.In another initiative, independent of Sterling's efforts, a march is being organized by Victor Mendolia to protest the eviction. The march, which takes place on Wednesday, August 5, will begin at 5 p.m. at the office of Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood, 6 South Second Street, and will proceed to "various locations associated with the Galvan Foundation."
COPYRIGHT 2015 CAROLE OSTERINK