NYC to redevelop Grand Concourse library with 100% affordable housing

April 10, 2024

Photo courtesy of NYC Housing Preservation and Development

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the New York Public Library announced plans to transform the Grand Concourse branch into a state-of-the-art library with affordable housing on top. This week the city kicked off the community engagement process for the project, which falls under Mayor Eric Adams’ “24 in 24” plan to advance 24 affordable housing projects in 2024.

Located at 155 East 173rd Street, the multi-story brick and masonry library was built in 1959 and needs major repair work. The building sits on a nearly 8,900-square-foot lot about three blocks from the B/D subway lines.

Plans for the new library include a new welcoming and fully accessible entrance, an improved layout, community rooms, new mechanical systems to better heat and cool the library, new finishes and furniture, and technology and power upgrades.

The housing could be of various types, including senior housing, supportive housing with social services, families from shelters, and homeownership opportunities.

During the community engagement process, residents can share input on priorities for the development, including affordability levels and library programs. The public feedback will be put together in the Community Visioning Report, which will drive the request for proposals issued by the city later this year. A developer could be chosen for the project by next summer.

The branch will continue to operate until construction begins.

“Libraries offer a wealth of opportunities in free and welcoming spaces that support the needs and dreams of New Yorkers. The New York Public Library is looking forward to working with the city on this innovative proposal to build a state-of-the-art Grand Concourse branch that can adapt and evolve with the community,” Anthony W. Marx, president of NYPL said.

“We are excited to be part of a project that includes 100 percent affordable housing at a time when our city is in the midst of a housing crisis. This process is just in the beginning stages, and we are eager to hear from our patrons about what they would like to see at their new library and look forward to updating everyone on what we learn.”

The city just recently opened its first combined affordable housing and library development. In November, the city and the Brooklyn Public Library opened the Sunset Park Apartments & Library, an eight-story building with 49 permanently affordable units above a new public library.

Upon its completion this spring, the new Inwood library branch at 4790 Broadway will have 138 affordable apartments. Dubbed the Eliza, the building includes a mix of studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments affordable to low-income households earning 60 percent of AMI and below. The remaining units are designated for those earning up to 30 percent of the AMI and formerly homeless New Yorkers.

The Grand Concourse development falls under Mayor Eric Adams’ “24 in 24” plan, which aims to advance two dozen affordable housing projects on public sites this year and create or preserve more than 12,000 affordable housing units. The library marks the 13th project under the initiative.

Additional projects under the plan include replacing an HPD satellite office in Prospect Heights with 270 affordable homes and a community garden and turning a city-owned parking lot in Inwood into 570 affordable homes, public green space, and a STEM facility.

“I’m excited to see the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development and New York Public Library kick off community engagement for the ultimate redevelopment of the Grand Concourse library into a future, state-of-the-art library that also provides much-needed affordable housing within the community,” Leila Bozorg, executive director for housing, said.

“Not only does this mark the halfway point of the mayor’s commitment to advance 24 public site developments in 2024, but it’s also a great example of how public sites can be reimagined to meet the ever-growing and changing needs of our neighborhoods.”

Grand Concourse residents interested in sharing their input on the project can fill out a questionnaire here.

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