Northeast Times

NE Center heads to auction

The North­east Com­munity Cen­ter on Holme Av­en­ue was sched­uled for a sher­iff’s sale on Tues­day, ac­cord­ing to its ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or, Stan Co­hen.

The cen­ter owes $1.1 mil­lion to TD Bank that the cen­ter bor­rowed to build an ad­di­tion, and the lender has fore­closed, Co­hen said.

If the cen­ter is sold and even­tu­ally  closes, its 900 mem­bers and sev­er­al loc­al or­gan­iz­a­tions will be un­able to use its large pool, gym or fit­ness room and young­sters won’t be able to take part in its pre-school and after-school pro­grams.

The cen­ter was once a branch of the Phil­adelphia YW­CA, but the branch fol­ded in 1992. The Holme Av­en­ue fa­cil­ity re­opened in 1997 as the North­east Com­munity Cen­ter. 

Dis­aster struck the cen­ter on Feb. 12, 2010, when the roof over the pool col­lapsed un­der the weight of a heavy, wet snow­fall, Co­hen said. He said the pool had to be closed for the many months while the roof was be­ing re­paired.

The pool was the biggest source of the cen­ter’s rev­en­ue, he said, and its lengthy shut­down was costly. Mem­ber­ship dropped from more than 2,300 to 900 as pool users found oth­er places to swim. 

He said the cen­ter got be­hind in its mort­gage pay­ments, but had worked out a plan that cut pay­ments by about $800 a month from its $7,800 monthly tab. He said the cen­ter nev­er missed a pay­ment.

Dav­id Smith, the cen­ter’s at­tor­ney, said it filed for Chapter 11 bank­ruptcy pro­tec­tion earli­er this year. The cen­ter was re­quired to file a re­or­gan­iz­a­tion plan by Nov. 1. However, the cen­ter missed the dead­line, Smith said.

Asked why, Co­hen said he was look­ing for re­fin­an­cing and had found a new lender. Money from Pen­nant Fin­an­cial, would have covered what was owed to TD Bank and the con­tract­or who re­paired the roof, he said, but Pen­nant wanted an ap­prais­al of the prop­erty.

Co­hen and Smith said TD Bank had con­duc­ted an ap­prais­al. TD Bank was asked for the ap­prais­al, but didn’t provide it, both Smith and Co­hen. The bank began pro­ceed­ings for fore­clos­ure soon after the Nov. 1 re­or­gan­iz­a­tion plan dead­line passed, Smith said.

Smith said the bank “seemed anxious” to fore­close.

“Re­gard­ing the sale, we fol­lowed our nor­mal course of busi­ness,” TD Bank com­mu­nic­a­tions man­ager Jef­fifer Morneau said in an e-mail to the North­east Times.

Co­hen and his sis­ter, Mindy Lange, the cen­ter’s dir­ect­or of pro­grams and ad­min­is­tra­tion, said they have not drawn salar­ies for months and have sunk a lot of their own money in­to keep­ing the fa­cil­ity afloat.

“I’ve used my per­son­al cred­it card,” she said.

Forty per­cent of the fa­cil­ity’s 700 adult mem­bers are seni­or cit­izens, Co­hen said. Moss Re­hab­il­it­a­tion Cen­ter and loc­al day­care fa­cil­it­ies also use it, Lange said.

Re­port­er John Loftus can be reached at 215-354-3110 or jloftus@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

comments powered by Disqus