Development with affordable housing and city’s first civil rights museum gets the green light in Harlem

July 22, 2019

Rendering courtesy of Empire State Development

New York’s first civil rights museum will soon land in Harlem, as the city pushes forward with a new $260 million development near the Adam Clayton Powell office building on 125th Street. Empire State Development is planning a 17-story mixed-use building that, in addition to the museum, will house the headquarters of civil rights nonprofit National Urban League (which was founded in the neighborhood in 1910 and currently has offices downtown), office space (including below-market-rate for Harlem-based nonprofits), retail, and 170 affordable apartments targeted to New Yorkers making 30-80 percent of the area median income.

“Equitable economic development means investing in every neighborhood and in organizations like the National Urban League that work every day to uplift others,” Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said. “We are proud to support this project that will keep NUL in New York and continue Harlem’s renaissance.”

The project was first announced in 2013 and was initially expected to break ground in 2015. The project faced pushback from local businesses that feared displacement, most of which by now have already been relocated as the developers prepare to break ground, the Daily News reported.

The project gained major momentum last week after ESD’s Board of Directors approved a modified General Project Plan for the development and Governor Cuomo signed legislation authorizing the transfer of the state-owned land for the project to ESD. The project also received two grants from the New York City Regional Economic Development Council and the Restore New York Communities Initiative totaling $4.5 million. New York State Homes and Community Renewal is also expected to provide financing to support the creation of affordable housing.


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