To the editor:
(re: “Stagg Group grabs Manhattan dorm for $18 million,” June 15)
We the shareholders of Waldo Gardens are shocked and dismayed that our long-time community neighbors, Manhattan College, sold Overlook dorm to the Stagg Group.
It is no secret that Stagg historically has been involved in transforming buildings for the purpose of homeless shelters. It is also historic Stagg claims the structures are designed for other purposes such as affordable housing, but in the end, once they have their deals complete, the “bait-and-switch” tactic is placed into action, and the buildings invariably wind up for the homeless and downtrodden.
Once a building becomes the living quarters for such occupants, the neighborhood, the real estate values, restaurants, and general quality of life for the entire community goes down quickly.
Maybe this will not be purposed for homeless, but possibly for the migrants that have been flooding this city and country. This can be even worse than housing homeless as migrants are not vetted and could very well contain people that are gang-related, desperate, or involved with drugs. We don’t know as the Department of Homeland Security doesn’t even know.
Migrant housing here at Overlook could very well be a possibility. People will move out as the neighborhood will become dangerous and not fit for the folks who have lived and thrived in this community.
This may be business as usual for Manhattan College who is hurting from Covid-19 (as is the rest of the world) and a lack of student registrations, so good reason to make a big buck on Overlook while destroying the very community they have thrived in for a century.
It is a wonder where their students will be quartered. Seems like the Majestic is one of the buildings stuffed with students, and the rest are scattered around the neighborhood. What parent would spend upward of $60,000 yearly to have their child living in a dangerous neighborhood while walking to class via a homeless or migrant shelter route?
This becomes even more of a downfall for the college.
Manhattan College keeps putting out their comfort letters stating they are certain Overlook will be for affordable housing. Is there a clause in their sale that is the case? Is it legal even to have such a guarantee in their sale?
We don’t know of such a guarantee, so there is no comfort level. The community does not trust Stagg based upon their history of bait and switch, and because the “almighty dollar” has apparently reared its ugly head with Manhattan College, they are not to be trusted either as their answers to inquiries are simply not substantiated.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Although Stagg Group’s 2017 project at 5731 Broadway was ultimately turned into a transitional facility for those moving from homelessness to funding their own apartments, the developer has constructed about a dozen other projects in the area that do not have contracts with the city for sheltering the homeless.