Proposed East Harlem mixed-use development may contain city’s tallest building with affordable housing

February 9, 2017

Looking to take advantage of the newly opened Second Avenue Subway stop at 96th Street, the New York City Educational Construction Fund and AvalonBay Communities are working their way through the city approval process to build a 1.14 million-square foot, full-block, mixed-use development in East Harlem. CityRealty tells us that the project located at 321 East 96th Street would hold two new school buildings for three different local schools, 20,000 square feet of retail space, a rebuilt playground, and a 68-story, 760-foot residential tower that would offer between 1,100 and 1,200 units and possibly become the city’s tallest building to contain affordable housing (roughly 330 below-market rate units).

According to the land use application, there will be a new 130,000-square-foot building for the School of Cooperative Technical Education (Co-op Tech) along Second Avenue, next to the new residential tower. It will be relocated from its current location along the east side of the block at First Avenue, which will be replaced by a new nine-story building to hold the Heritage High School and Park East High School. In between the avenues, Starr Whitehouse will redesign the existing Marx Brothers Playground.

View from 97th Street & Second showing the new Co-op Tech school

View from 96th Street and Second Avenue of the residential tower’s podium

View looking east down 96th Street showing new school building at First Avenue

Preliminary designs come via Perkins Eastman Architects, which show a bulky massing with many setbacks. If it rises to its proposed height, the residential tower will be the second tallest building on the east side north of Midtown (Zeckendorf’s under-construction 520 Park Avenue at East 60th Street will take the top spot). It will comply with the new Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program and set aside 30 percent of its 1,100 rentals as permanently affordable. Of those, 10 percent will be reserved for households earning 40 percent of the area media income and 20 percent for those earning 60 percent. As part of the program, the units must be dispersed fairly evenly throughout the building.

As CityRealty explains, the developers are seeking several zoning amendments, including “modification of height and setback restrictions, an upzoning of half of the block, and a reduction in parking requirements.” If these go smoothly through the ULURP process, construction on the Tech School will begin in 2019 and finish the following year. The two other schools are expected to open in 2022 and the residential tower in 2023. Find future listings for 321 East 96th Street here.

[Via CityRealty]


Renderings via Perkins Eastman Architects; Massing diagrams via NYC DCP

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