NYC Moves Forward on $260M Harlem Project

Empire State Development approved a modified plan along with $4.5 million in grants for the redevelopment project, which will include more than 170 affordable and supportive housing units.
National Urban League building. Rendering courtesy of Empire State Development

A long-planned, $260 million project that will include affordable housing in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City is poised to move forward, with the state’s economic development agency agreeing to provide $4.5 million in grants for the mixed-use redevelopment scheme.


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Empire State Development voted last week to approve a modified general plan for the project, as well as two grants totaling $4.5 million from the New York City Regional Economic Development Council and the Restore New York Communities Initiative. Located at the site of an existing parking garage at West 125th Street, the project will feature more than 170 affordable and supportive housing units, along with new headquarters for the National Urban League, New York’s first museum dedicated to civil rights and a conference center.

The development will include around 70,000 square feet of Class A office space, 90,000 square feet of rentable retail space, and below-market space for two nonprofit organizations, 100 Black Men, Inc. and Jazzmobile. BRP Cos., Taconic Investment Partners, L+M Development Partners, Dabar Development Partners and The Prusik Group will team up with nonprofit civil rights organization the National Urban League to deliver the project.

Reshaping 125th Street

Project site at 121 W. 125th St. Image courtesy of Google Maps

The announcement of the modified project plan came days after Governor Andrew Cuomo authorized the transfer of the site to Empire State Development for less than fair market value.

The project has been in the works since 2012, when state and city officials issued a request for proposals to foster arts, culture and economic opportunities along the 125th Street corridor in Upper Manhattan. The following year, New York State announced that the redevelopment of the underutilized 42,000-square-foot site would be led by the Hudson Cos., BRP Development Corp. and the National Urban League. The Hudson Cos. is apparently no longer involved.

The National Urban League will own the 17-story building and is expected to sign a 99-year lease for the land, a state official informed the New York Daily News. The plot of land at 121 W. 125th St. stretches between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and Lenox Avenue.

L+M Development Partners and Taconic Investment Partners previously teamed up with BFC Partners to build a 1,000-unit apartment community at 1709 Surf Ave. in Brooklyn, N.Y. The partners broke ground on phase one of the project last November, which will include 446 fully affordable units.