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Last Remaining Homeless Shelter in NoHo Pushed Out For Retail: Report

 350 Lafayette housed a homeless women's shelter for 27 years but has to move since developer Aby Rosen purchased the building for $27 million.
350 Lafayette housed a homeless women's shelter for 27 years but has to move since developer Aby Rosen purchased the building for $27 million.
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DNAinfo/Danielle Tcholakian

NOHO — A decades-old shelter for homeless women is being ousted from Lafayette Street after the building that housed it for 27 years was sold to developers for $27 million, according to the shelter and city records.

The sale was first reported by The Real Deal, which also reported that the building is being marketed for retail use.

The shelter's operators, the nonprofit Center for Urban Community Services, said 350 Lafayette Transitional Living Community was one of the first city shelters to be run by a nonprofit and is the last remaining homeless shelter in NoHo.

"Given our long history at this building, CUCS has a sentimental attachment to this site and it is hard to let go," said CUCS Executive Director Tony Hannigan in a statement.

Hannigan promised that the shelter's "good work with women who are very much in need will continue at a new location," but the organization has not yet found a new home. They said the city's Department of Homeless Services is helping them look for one.

The building at 350 Lafayette St. held 43 beds and welcomed an average of 55 women each year, according to the nonprofit. It is a transitional housing shelter for women with histories of serious mental illness, meaning it helps homeless women who are in the process of being placed in affordable housing, and provides health services as well as shelter.

They say they have placed more than 1,500 homeless women move from 350 Lafayette St. into affordable housing since 1988.

According to CUCS, DHS, and NoHo locals, the shelter has a reputation as one of the city's best — a "jewel of the city's shelter system."

NoHo Neighborhood Association co-chair Jeanne Wilcke said that new residents moving to the neighborhood often "never realized the building even housed a shelter."

“You often hear complaints about shelters and the impact on the community. Then you have this shelter to show the other side of what they can be," Wilcke said in a statement. "This was one of the good ones, doing good works, with little impact on the surrounding area."

A statement from DHS concurred with Wilcke, attesting that CUCS "has done an excellent job in working with our clients and building long-standing relationships in the community."

The shelter has a "beautiful rooftop" and family-style dining room, according to CUCS' website. While it is operated by CUCS, women must go through DHS in order to be welcomed into the shelter.

According to city records, 305 Lafayette St. was purchased this month by a company with the same address at RFR, a firm owned by real estate tycoon Aby Rosen. The Real Deal reported that Rosen was behind the buy.

Rosen also recently purchased 190 Bowery, the massive corner building long owned by reclusive photographer Jay Maisel. According to a New Yorker profile of Rosen published last month, he keeps a guard standing inside the graffiti-covered structure with a baseball bat beside him. 190 Bowery is also being marketed for retail use, according to a large sign on the building, and the New Yorker reported that Rosen is asking for $2.2 million in rent.

RFR did not immediately respond to requests for comment.