In Harlem, controversial truck depot opens on site of failed housing project
Rendering courtesy of SHoP Architects
On the Harlem lot where a residential development with hundreds of housing units was once proposed, a truck depot opened this week. As Patch first reported, the first trucks drove on Wednesday to the stop on West 145th Street, the site of the One45 proposal. After the council member refused to support the new mixed-use development, citing gentrification and lack of affordable housing, the developer scrapped the plan in May and moved forward with one that did not require zoning changes. The depot can hold up to 200 vehicles.
Developer Bruce Teitelbaum’s One45 project proposed building two 363-foot-tall towers with 915 total apartments on a mostly vacant lot. After local officials called for more below-market-rate housing, Teitelbaum updated the plan to make 50 percent of the apartments affordable.
But Council Member Kristin Richardson Jordan, who represents the neighborhood, was not won over and sought at least 57 percent of the apartments to be available to those who make 30 percent of the area median income. Richardson Jordan said she opposed One45 because it would contribute to the gentrification of Harlem.
Teitelbaum withdrew the application for One45 and later announced plans for a “rental depot for big rigs and trucks.”
“Today, instead of celebrating the construction of 917 units of desperately needed housing in Harlem and NYC’s first ever Geo-Thermal Green Energy District, which would have drastically reduced carbon emissions in the community, we are reluctantly commencing with Plan B that starts with a truck depot,” Teitelbaum told Patch in a statement.
“Unfortunately, our other as-of-right-now options that make business sense are extremely limited and, until the site is vacant, even those plans are not practical. This is why we have to start with the truck on the vacant portion of the site as we continue to plan for the future.”
The truck depot is likely not a permanent fixture. Teitelbaum told the New York Times he is still considering a project that would not require City Council approval, like a luxury apartment building or self-storage facility.
On Sunday, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine called for a renewed effort by the city to rezone the site. “This location deserves far, far better than a truck depot. It is unacceptable that such a facility will soon be operating there,” Levine said in a statement.
“We need housing on this site. Families are leaving Northern Manhattan every day because they can’t find an affordable apartment. The 145th St. property represents a rare opportunity to deliver for them.”
Levine continued: “It’s time to make another attempt at a rezoning for this site. My office is committed to doing everything possible to work towards a deal that would bring desperately needed housing, while maximizing affordability at levels accessible to the community. The alternative of allowing this site to languish in the heart of Harlem—or worse, to remain a truck depot—is absolutely unacceptable. We need to act now.”