Home News NE Center heads to auction

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

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