A tipster has alerted us that Manhattan’s first market-rate rental building built to passive house standards has reached street level. Dubbed Perch Harlem, the soon-to-be-seven-story structure is located in the uppermost reaches of Harlem’s Hamilton Heights section at 542 West 153rd Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenues.
“Perched”on a ridge 150 feet above sea level, the site overlooks the bucolic grounds of Trinity Cemetery, which is the only active burial ground on the island. The project’s forward-thinking developers, the Synapse Development Group with its investment partner Taurus Investment Holdings, purchased the 10,000-square-foot former parking lot back in December of 2013 and have since been growing their Perch brand of passive house buildings that focus on low-impact living and community-oriented design. A second Perch building is slated for Williamsburg at 646 Lorimer Street.
Find out more about Perch Harlem
Portuguese-born architect/artist Luis Da Cruz bought the run-down brownstone at 532 West 148th Street in 2006 for $995,000. He then embarked on a complete renovation, turning the three-family home into his own personal playground. Cruz beautifully restored original features of the 1920 house like carved wood stairways and railings, gorgeous moldings, five fireplaces, beamed ceilings, and exposed brick walls. But on that historic canvas he overlaid his signature art pieces made with repurposed objects and decorated the space in an industrial/Victorian mash up. Luis also used the townhouse, dubbed Musée Maison (aptly, Museum House), as his studio and workshop and often hosted art shows there (including trapeze shows in which he participated) where all of the work was for sale. He’s now put the 3,500-square-foot Hamilton Heights house on the market, asking $2.5 million.
See the rest of this one-of-a-kind home
There’s no doubt the Hamilton Heights Historic District is like a little gem in Harlem. This 5,000-square-foot, five-story townhouse at 329 Convent Avenue boasts gorgeous intricate original woodwork, and a lush backyard. And it’s back on the rental market for $13,000 a month.
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Broadway and 146th Street, a typical stretch in West Harlem
You may remember the Harlem Promenade project, which proposed transferring air rights over the Amtrak rail lines in West Harlem to create affordable housing and using the sale of the air rights to pay for $170 million in community improvements in Hamilton Heights, including a High Line-esque park.
We’ve now learned that the project has taken on a new life as the New Broadway Plan, which may be smaller in scope than the original plan, but would be the largest creation of affordable housing in Manhattan since 1959 if fully realized. It would also make a huge dent in Mayor De Blasio’s goal of creating or preserving 200,000 affordable units over ten years. The Plan proposes a rezoning of portions of Broadway from 125th to 155th Streets in order to build 3,000 new units of housing, 50 percent of which will be permanently affordable, and to equalize the amount of new affordable to market rate housing stock, which is currently at a disproportionate ratio of 20 percent to 80 percent, respectively.
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