Project Renewal hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its 307-unit supportive housing building at 351 West 42nd Street in Manhattan, to celebrate a $15 million renovation and the official naming of the building—which was once the historic Holland Hotel—as Geffner House, after former Project Renewal CEO Ed Geffner. The project was funded by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).
“Thanks to Ed Geffner’s extraordinary vision and leadership, Project Renewal turned this run-down building into one of the nation’s first and largest supportive housing sites in the 1990s,” said Project Renewal President and CEO Mitchell Netburn. “Ever since, we have been privileged to provide quality permanent housing and comprehensive support services to formerly homeless and low-income New Yorkers. We are thrilled to unveil this latest renovation project and to honor Ed’s legacy with the renaming. We are also grateful for the support of HPD and Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer.”
The renovation project includes:
A new plumbing system
New bathrooms, kitchenettes, and floors in the apartment units
Renovations to the commercial kitchen where Project Renewal’s social purpose catering company, City Beet Kitchens, operates and is staffed by formerly homeless adults
A renovated the lobby with new flooring, a new entryway vestibule, and a new layout to makes the building more welcoming and safer
New flooring in the hallways
A new railing on the rooftop
A custom steel “Geffner House” sign on the front door, designed and fabricated by local artist Linda Cunningham
Geffner, who served as CEO of Project Renewal from 1977 to 2010, also attended the event. In the 1990s, Geffner put together the financing for Project Renewal’s purchase of the Holland Hotel from the city and its initial renovation. In 1996, Project Renewal reopened the building under the name Holland House, as supportive housing for formerly homeless adults—including those with mental illness, substance use disorder, and HIV/AIDS—as well as low-income individuals.
Prior to that, the building was a so-called “welfare hotel”—a dilapidated single-room occupancy residence for homeless New Yorkers—until it was closed by the city for health and housing violations in 1988. Originally constructed in 1918, the building is now 100 years old.
Today, on-site services provided by Project Renewal to Geffner House tenants include occupational therapy, group and individual counseling, substance use disorder treatment, medical treatment, psychiatric care, crisis intervention, job training and placement, and art classes.