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Embattled Slope nursing-home owner plans luxury apartments on Fourth Ave

Going up: The auto shops on Fourth Avenue, between President and Carroll streets, where developer Haysha Deitsch has applied to build an 11-story apartment tower with a pet spa, according to plans filed with the city.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Out with the old, and in with the new development.

A landlord who last year tried to shuffle seniors out of his Grand Army Plaza old folks’ home after claiming it was too cash-strapped to stay open recently paid almost $10 million for a pair of properties on nearby Fourth Avenue, where he now plans to erect a luxury apartment building.

Prospect Park Residence owner Haysha Deitsch intends to erect an 11-story complex with a pet spa, children’s playroom, and a penthouse suite with a private roof deck on the site of two auto repair shops between President and Carroll streets, according to plans filed with the Department of Buildings on Wednesday, as first reported by New York Yimby.

Deitsch in June paid $6.5 million for L-and-B Auto Repair and $3.3 million for neighboring car detailing outfit Millionaires Playground, according to Epic Commercial Realty, which handled the sale.

Construction is slated to begin in six months, according to architect Sina Mesdaghi.

Deitsch has been embroiled in a court battle with a handful of elderly tenants at his Prospect Park West nursing home since June last year, after the facility in March announced it was closing down due to financial woes and gave tenants three months’ notice to scram — which their family members claim was not enough time to relocate their frail loved ones.

This paper later revealed that Deitsch, who originally purchased the property for around $40 million, had agreed to sell the building to real estate investors for $76 million more than a month before the closure was announced.

The court ordered Deitsch to keep the residence open and continue providing services for the holdouts throughout the litigation, but the oldsters and their families claim he has instead cut amenities — serving sub-par food, axing staff, and refusing to turn on central air conditioning — while jacking up their rent.

Deitsch’s attorney told this paper the fee-hike was fair because it is costing his client a fortune to keep the 100-room facility open for his court-room foes, whose numbers have now dwindled down to seven.

A judge in April appointed a nursing-home manager to take over the home to ensure the residents were being properly cared for after he said the facility failed to fix numerous health and safety violations. But Deitsch and the state refused to cover his operating costs, and after three months, the court forced the operator to cough up the money.

Many of the residents who were forced to move out last year said they were happy at the facility, but it has also been the target of other lawsuits. The nephew of “kung-fu judge” John Phillips filed a wrongful death suit against the home after his uncle died there in 2008, following what he claimed was a period of severe neglect during which he was denied heat and a diabetic diet. Deitsch settled out of court for $750,000 in February.

L-and-B Auto Repair will move to a new location on 24th Street between Third and Fourth avenues, according to an employee.

Deitsch did not return calls for comment.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Battle ground: Landlord Haysha Deitsch has been in a court battle with a handful of residents at this old folks' home
Photo by Jason Speakman

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