E. 126th St. former charity home has been taken over by vagrants and rats. Church group pulls out of renovation plan.
The latest plans to fix what residents of one block in East Harlem call the “nightmare” neighbor have fallen through — again.
Two philanthropic community organizations had big plans for the derelict, long-abandoned brownstone on E. 126th St., but the property owners got cold feet, and the dwelling became home only to rats and vagrants.
“It’s boarded up, but people are squatting in it,” said Giselle Allard, a Harlem businesswoman who owns property next to the 52 E. 126th St. eyesore. “It’s become a haven for prostitution and drug addicts.”
Allard put up a fence, covered her door in razor wire and installed cameras after the neighboring vagrants broke into her property.
Property records show a troubled history at the 32-unit boarded up blight.
Built in the Gilded Age, it was first occupied by Sisters of Divine Compassion. Until 1977, it was owned by a lawyer known to the neighborhood as “Mr. Charles,” and after he passed away the city seized control of the run down site.
In 1990, the double-wide brownstone was sold to a Housing Development Fund Corporation, a type of tenant-operated co-op. In this case, the co-op is run by the Metropolitan Community United Methodist Church — which could not be reached for comment.
“I don’t know why they call it a development fund…(the church) never developed anything,” said Derrick Taitt, the block president and 60-year resident.
Earlier this year, plans were underway to finally renovate the flagrant eyesore.
Youth Action Youth Build and Children’s Village proposed to develop the deteriorated structure into a home for young adults transitioning out of the foster care system.
But in May, the the church backed out.
“It was very unfortunate,” said David Calvert, executive director of Youth Build. “They lost confidence in the project.”
But block residents were relieved.
“We are neighborhood over-run with all these programs,” said Taitt, mention a methadone clinic, a rehab center around the corner, and a large shelter nearby.
“A neighborhood needs balance,” she said. “We already have a high concentration of these clinics.”
Instead of more services, residents say they want good neighbors in the form of … neighbors.
“Everyone is hoping to see it occupied,” said Tom A., who declined to give his last name.
“Anyone in the building is better than abandoning it.”
By Laignee Barron / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS