A $225 million complex planned for 121 West 125th Street and meant to house the state's first civil rights museum, conference center, retail space, mixed-income housing, and parking might soon be heading to another neighborhood. Civil rights group National Urban League might scrap the project's 460,000-square-foot Harlem site and look for a new one in?brace?Brooklyn, after an area politician and several local businesses expressed concern about the impact of such a big project on the neighborhood.
State Senator Bill Perkins says he is backing the area's small businesses, which were worried about displacement, even though the state apparently promised $250,000 in compensation to shops or restaurants that would have to relocate or, alternatively, space in the new building. Unnamed officials told the Daily News that they thought the Urban League, currently headquartered in downtown Manhattan, was a perfect fit for Harlem's main thoroughfare and that Perkins is holding back the area's growth: "If you can't bring the Urban League to Harlem, you can't bring anything to Harlem as long as Bill Perkins is standing in the way."
At a community meeting last night, NY1 reports, the National Urban League president presented the plans to attendees and touted the job creation component, while attendees seemed largely in favor of the idea albeit worried about the unceremonious removal of local businesses. But Perkins isn't alone in his objections, though, so for now let's just consider this development partially arrested. It had been set to open in 2016.
· 'Grandstanding' Harlem pol Bill Perkins may have killed neighborhood's National Urban League project [NYDN]
· Community Meeting Held For Redevelopment Plan On 125th Street In Harlem [NY1]
· 125th Street Businesses Say Urban League Project Will Displace Them [DNAinfo]
· Civil Rights Museum, Housing to Replace 125th Street Garage [Curbed]