Inwood development with public library and 100% affordable housing opens

June 27, 2024

Image courtesy of NYPL/Jonathan Blanc

New York City this week celebrated the opening of a unique new development in Inwood that combines a public library with affordable housing. City officials on Wednesday opened The Eliza, a 14-story rental with 174 deeply affordable apartments atop a two-level New York Public Library branch. In addition to 100 percent affordable homes and a public library, the project at 4790 Broadway also includes a pre-K space, STEM learning center, and community facility.

Photo courtesy of Molly Stromoski for The Children’s Village

Developed as a joint venture between the city and the Community League of the Heights (CLOTH), Children’s Village, Ranger Properties, Alembic Community Development, and Housing Workshop, the project includes a newly renovated New York Public Library branch, dubbed the Joseph and Sheila Rosenblatt Building, on the first two floors, with residences above, on the site of the former public library.

“This innovative, public-private partnership demonstrates the power of city government, philanthropy, and community partners working together. The end result is not just a state-of-the-art library for Inwood, but also desperately needed affordable housing and community space,” Anthony W. Marx, president of NYPL, said.

Designed by Fogarty Finger in collaboration with Andrew Berman Architect, the building is named in honor of Eliza Hamilton, local library support and Upper Manhattan resident.

Images courtesy of NYPL/Jonathan Blanc

Measuring 20,000 square feet, the library retains its previously offered services, including literacy programs and story times. The library’s open and flexible floor plan makes space for computer classes, a community room, co-working spaces, and quiet reading spaces.

“The design of the Inwood Library comes from my own love of libraries, a respect bordering on awe for the NYPL and its ability to continue to provide and extend its mission, and a love for our city and its neighborhoods,” Andrew Berman said. “This project was truly collaborative, Fogarty Finger Architects and the NYPL being wonderful partners among many. Like the city itself, here the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Designed by Fogarty Finger, The Eliza features a mix of studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments with rents set between 30 and 60 percent of the area median income. A lottery launched at the building last August, open to New Yorkers earning 30, 40, 50, and 60 percent of the area median income. Apartments were priced from $397/month to $1,841/month.

The city received a stunning 80,000 applications for the housing lottery, according to a press release, highlighting the need for affordable housing citywide.

Amenities at The Eliza include bike storage lockers, a shared laundry room, a children’s playroom, a recreation room, a gym, rooftop gardens, an outdoor lounge and terrace with views of the Hudson River, and an on-site resident manager. All residences feature energy-efficient appliances.

Residents will also have direct access to the renovated library facility and a 10,000-square-foot Activities, Culture, and Training Center (ACTS) for job training. The ACTS Center features a cutting-edge STEM Robotics learning hub, a teaching kitchen, a performance space, a sensory room, and classrooms designed to meet the needs of youth and their families.

Photo courtesy of NYPL/Jonathan Blanc

The combined housing and library branch project stems from the 2018 Inwood rezoning, an effort to build more than 1,600 new affordable homes and preserve 2,500 units in the neighborhood. In April 2019, the city filed plans with the Department of Buildings for the project. While the building was being constructed, a temporary library operated at 4857 Broadway.

The Eliza is the second 100 percent affordable housing development with a public library to open in the five boroughs. In November 2023, the Sunset Park Library and Apartments opened at 372 51st Street, bringing affordable homes to Sunset Park for the first time in 20 years.

“The opening of The Eliza is an important step towards building a more affordable, inclusive and livable city for New Yorkers,” Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer said.

“The Eliza provides much needed affordable housing and social infrastructure through a state-of-the-art public library that will offer families access to critical services, create opportunities for children to read and play, and build community.”

The project was made possible through an initial grant from Robin Hood, followed by a donation from Sam Rosenblatt, Sarah Goos, and Jill Gordon, which the city also matched.


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