Special Meeting on Re-financing of Romemu Center

PLEASE VOTE! Jan 21, 5:30PM Special Meeting on Re-financing of Romemu Center

The Board of Directors has called a Special Community Meeting on Tuesday, January 21st at 5:30PM sharp to vote to approve the re-financing of the Romemu Center building with a mortgage from Carver community bank. If you can’t join us in person, PLEASE VOTE BY PROXY by clicking HERE or emailing the form below to Natalia@romemu.org
While only Romemu members can vote, all are welcome to join the meeting and the bevy of amazing programs happening that day. The building will be positively buzzing with the lifeblood of our community all day long. At 6:30pm, “Never Too Late: B Mitzvah Journey for Lifelong Learners,” with Rabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses and Hazzan Basya Shechter, will be meeting. So will “Walking the Path: Judaism for Beginners,” with Arielle Korman, as well as our beginning Hebrew language class, “Aleph Bet I,” with Wendy Miles. There will also be an important info session with “Sanctuary Neighborhoods NYC” founder Tara Geer and Romemu member Debora Cahn to explore the possibility of the Romemu community providing sanctuary and care for refugee families in urgent need in our local neighborhood. 
Following all these, at 8:00pm will be the weekly Beit Midrash with Rabbi Ingber, “From Mezritch to Manhattan: A Neo-Hasidic Pilgrimage.” Normally, the Romemu Center would also be alive from 3-6pm with the sounds of our K-5th graders attending the Seekers Holistic Hebrew School (but next week happens to be off for holidays). And the Romemu staff will be working all day above all this action from our offices on the 3rd floor. 
This building has truly become an anchor for so much of what we do. As Romemu Board President Scott Osman remarked, “The Center is owned by the community. It will be a thrill to gather together on this momentous occasion to hear from our members, vote to approve the mortgage, and celebrate our new home.”  
Agreed! Please join us in our new home, rather, YOUR new home, and VOTE!
For more background on the building finances and the nature of the vote, or to email your proxy vote, please see below. 
Jeffrey Cahn
Executive Director
To Vote by Proxy 
Members may vote in person at the meeting or by proxy. Voting by proxy means you do not need to attend the Special Meeting, but can designate another person to vote on your behalf.
To vote by proxy, please either click here or send an e-mail to Natalia@romemu.org with the information completed below.
  • Name: ____________________________
  • Email: ____________________________
  • Phone: ___________________________
  • Address: __________________________
  • Current member of Romemu? (YES or NO) ___________
  • I want to designate Peter Takiff, Board Member, or another Romemu member as my proxy (write name of your choice here)______________________
  • If your proxy must vote as you instruct, state if your vote should be in favor or against the adoption of Member Resolutions approving the proposed mortgage from Carver Bank (In favor or Against):__________________________
  • E-signature (type full name): _____________________
Proxy designations are always revocable and are valid for one year after they are signed.
If you choose to vote by proxy, please designate your proxy (as outlined above) and email Natalia@romemu.org no later than 5pm on January 21st,  2020. 
Click here to view the resolution document for the refinancing of the Romemu Center. 

Background on the Romemu Center Financing and Resolution to Approve Mortgage 

In early 2018, the Romemu Center building, formerly the Grosvenor House, was put on the market by the YMCA Association. Given the competitive nature of New York City real-estate, community members jumped in with the funds needed to put a deposit on the building and fund $4million of the $9million purchase price. In order to close the transaction by the required date, the Board approved $5million in short-term loans from several generous, anonymous donors, and we received keys to the new home for Romemu on October 12, 2018. The intention was always to re-finance these short-term loans with a longer term bank loan until the Board approves further capital fundraising. 

With the help former board chair Peter Takiff, we received a mortgage commitment from Carver Bank. Carver is a community bank based in Harlem that has enabled many religious, educational, cultural and other institutions in the Harlem/Upper Manhattan neighborhoods to acquire, maintain and renovate essential buildings for their communities. They are very supportive of our desire to create a force for positive change and service to our neighborhood. We could not be more thrilled to have Carver as a partner. 

With the proposed mortgage ($4.5million loan, 4.75% interest rate, 5 year term, renewable to 10 years), we will repay $4million of the $5million short term personal loans, which have now come due. The remaining $1million personal loan will need to be repaid over the next year. Funds to repay this loan, as well as funds to renovate both the new building and potentially parts of the West End Presbyterian Church, still need to be raised. Mortgage payments will be approximately $22,000/month, and will be offset by releasing the previous office space at 43 W. 110th St, which cost Romemu $14,200/month. 

Because Romemu is a nonprofit organization, this re-financing requires approval of the NY Attorney General, which in turn requires approval of Romemu’s Board of Directors and membership. Romemu’s bylaws stipulate that 10% of member households constitute a quorum, and a majority of the quorum must vote YES to approve this resolution either by proxy vote or in person at a Community Meeting.  For more information, please email jeff@romemu.org.