The city has unveiled a plan for 600 new apartments along with an Afro-Latin Music and Arts Center and an upgraded community center in East Harlem.
The project is one of the first major developments since the rezoning of East Harlem rezoning and, according to HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll, delivers on significant commitments in the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan for affordable housing, education, and workforce training investments.
“These incredible projects are delivering on the City’s commitment to invest in job training, youth, education, and more affordable housing for East Harlem. They are also proving that affordable housing can be an anchor for the arts and the entire community’s well-being,” said Carroll.
“I am so proud to announce plans for both the new Afro-Latin Music and Arts Center and renovated multi-service facility that will enhance the community’s quality of life. I want to thank our partners, The Community Builders, Ascendant Neighborhood Development, Mega Contracting, Lantern Organization, and the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance for their creative and thoughtful leadership.”
Mega Contracting, Lantern Organization, The Community Builders and Ascendant Neighborhood Development were selected to build the properties following the East Harlem RFP released in 2019, which sought plans to redevelop two sites that include affordable housing alongside retail and community services.
Located on the east side of Park Avenue between East 118th Street and East 119th Street, the former New York Police Department 25th precinct parking site (pictured top) will be transformed into a residential building with 330 affordable homes, of which 99 homes will be set aside for formerly homeless households.
Mega Contracting and Lantern Organization will build the development, called Timbale Terrace, which will also house a 16,000 s/f Afro-Latin Music and Arts (ALMA) Center, operated by the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance (ALJA). The facility will include practice rooms, community performance and art gallery spaces, recording studios, and street-facing retail.
In addition to hosting professional musical performances, the community partner ALJA will offer free or affordable music education programming for all ages, job training in the arts, and run an anti-gun initiative through the new center.
The Community Builders and Ascendant Neighborhood Development will develop the second site located at 413 East 120th Street, to be known as The Beacon.
The East Harlem Multi-Service Center site will give rise to an affordable 250-home residential building, of which 75 homes, or 30 percent, will be set aside for formerly homeless households. The new residential building will be constructed at the back of the existing East Harlem Multi-Service Center, which will be rehabilitated and expanded.
The original architecture of the multi-service center will be preserved and include additional space for after-school programming, a new atrium, green space, and the Wagner Walk walk path connecting the residential building to the multi-service facility. The renovated facility will continue to host the nonprofit organizations serving East Harlem.
“East Harlem is the community that best represents the mission of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, to use music as an entry point for service to the community and to reflect back to that community the beauty and ingenuity of its citizens,” said Arturo O’Farrill, Founder, Artistic Director, Afro Latin Jazz Alliance. “Partnering with the City of New York, the Lantern Organization and Mega development is an opportunity to put theory into daily practice. We are honored to lock arms with these partners and serve the people of East Harlem in a manner designed by their needs. Timbale Terrace will be a place that welcomes all!”
“Lantern Organization is thrilled to partner with the City of New York, Mega Development, and the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance to create Timbale Terrace,” said Dan Kent, President/CEO, Lantern. “We are grateful to the East Harlem community members who inspired this project through their advocacy for mixed-income housing, housing for vulnerable populations, and an arts and cultural center dedicated to this incredible neighborhood. We look forward to working with our neighbors to ensure Timbale Terrace achieves these shared goals for East Harlem.”
“Crafting a vision for Timbale Terrace was a labor of love for our team,” said Mega principal Hercules Argyriou. “Throughout our process, we were dedicated to creating a new mixed-use project that would address the needs articulated by the East Harlem community — 100% affordable housing that prioritizes those most in need with an arts and cultural center that celebrates East Harlem’s history and activates the Park Avenue corridor. In partnership with Lantern Organization and the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, we are honored to have the opportunity to realize our vision for this important location.”
“At TCB we pride ourselves on building and sustaining strong communities where all people can thrive,” said Desiree Andrepont, Senior Project Manager at The Community Builders. “It is a privilege to partner with Ascendant Neighborhood Development Corporation and bring together the East Harlem community with this exciting project. The transformation of the Multi Service Center will create a collaborative space to unite neighborhood leaders, local organizations and the greater community, and the development will provide much-needed affordable housing for generations to come.”
“For over thirty years, Ascendant has worked with our partners and allies to preserve, protect, and celebrate the unique history and heritage of East Harlem,” said Chris Cirillo, Executive Director at Ascendant Neighborhood Development Corporation. “We are profoundly grateful to have the opportunity to re-envision the Multi-Service Center as a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive 21st century community hub. We look forward to working with community members, Wagner Houses residents, Multi-Service Center tenants, Community Board 11, Council Member Ayala, and all of the other stakeholders who have helped to shape the vision for this site and the broader neighborhood.”
In 2017, the New York City Council approved the East Harlem rezoning to identify opportunities to create new mixed-income housing and preserve existing affordable housing. The East Harlem Rezoning builds on recommendations of the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan (EHNP), developed through a comprehensive community planning process and led by a committee of local stakeholders including former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, Manhattan Community Board 11 and Community Voices Heard. After a series of community meetings, the EHNP was issued with 232 recommendations for addressing key neighborhood issues. In addition to authorizing the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program for East Harlem, the rezoning creates opportunities for economic development while preserving the community’s existing commercial and manufacturing uses
The East Harlem rezoning also prioritizes creating more than 2,600 affordable homes, serving the lowest-earning families by leveraging city subsidies and the transformation of local public-owned sites. Other East Harlem affordable housing projects, include the 100 percent affordable Sendero Verde project, a mixed-use development primarily serving low-income households. Sendero Verde will become the nation’s largest Passive House development, providing more than 700 affordable homes. At least 20 percent of the homes will serve families earning less than $25,000, and 60 percent will serve households earning less than $49,000. In addition, 79 affordable apartments are for seniors. Once completed, Sendero Verde will also feature a community center, a Harlem Children’s Zone charter school, and a community art space.
Additionally, the City announced the East Harlem El Barrio Community Land Trust (EHEBCLT) alongside a $13.2 million project to convert four city-owned buildings into affordable housing under the CLT’s ownership. The EHEBCLT is the first CLT to receive public land, capital financing and startup support from the City in decades. Under the model, a board of tenants, community members, and nonprofit leaders will oversee and operate the development as an affordable rental mutual housing association.
Since the rezoning, the City has financed over 7,500 affordable homes in East Harlem. The zoning changes also support the construction of stations in the next phase of the Second Avenue Subway by planning for needed elevators, station access, and ventilation facilities.