By Jocelyn Visnov, Editor-in-Chief
Overlook Manor has been sold to Stagg Group for $18 million. With the new ownership officially beginning in early September, residents in the surrounding area voiced their concerns during a virtual community forum.
According to the company’s website, Stagg Group is a housing developer that specializes in affordable and transitional housing facilities in the Bronx and New York City area.
The funds from the purchase of the old apartment-style dorm went back into the student housing budget at MC and is being used to cover the cost of renovations in Horan and Chrysostom Halls.
Prior to the spring housing lottery, students were informed Overlook Manor would no longer be available as a residential option beginning in the fall of 2023. The building was officially sold to Stagg later in the spring but remained occupied by students throughout the summer.
Members of Waldo Gardens, a local co-op housing building in Riverdale, held a virtual community forum on Sept. 6. It was during the forum that residents of the surrounding community expressed they were still unclear as to what was in store for the future of the property.
“First of all, they [the college] are not being truthful with the community,” one attendee said. “And they should be honest, they’re also community members. They have students who live in the area on and off-campus. Also if they care for the students, they should have a vested interest in the safety of the community.”
Attendees also spoke on additional concerns regarding general safety of the area, access to the building from the 238 street station on Broadway, the steps located just outside of the building, as well as lack of available parking spots. In total, there were just over 100 attendees present at the virtual event, many of which had multiple people present behind their screens.
Andrew Stern, a partner of Tan Waterman & Wurtzel, the firm that serves as general counsel to Waldo Gardens, moderated the virtual forum event. Stern spoke to The Quadrangle about how the need for the community forum came to light.
“I think in the Riverdale Press it said that one of the potential uses that the new owners might use the property for was a shelter of one type or another,” Stern said. “There was a large concern about what that would do to the community in terms of a variety of issues, some of which were expressed at that meeting. And so the board of directors of Waldo Gardens took the initiative to try and organize the community and share concerns and information and to try and build support and to address the potential new uses for the site.”
Days after the forum took place, one resident posted a link on a community bulletin called hamlethub.com citing that Stagg had applied to turn the building into a “homeless shelter” after they had been told the property would not be used for this purpose.
The community bulletin posting began with the following statement: “And so it begins. Contrary to both public and politicians opinions, the Stagg Group has applied to the NYC building department to convert the former Manhattan College dormitory located at 3810 Waldo Avenue, into a homeless shelter.”
The link to the Department of Buildings application, however, was unable to be verified.
Matt Lewis, associate dean of students & director of residence life first learned Overlook would be sold when he was hired last spring.
“I started working at the College in January 2023, so the process of selling Overlook had already begun at that time,” Lewis wrote. “I was told Overlook was being sold to an affordable housing development company, but I wasn’t aware of the specific company until later in the spring.”
For now, Stagg housing has taken control of the property.