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Site of Historic Harlem Theater Soon to Be Rental Apartments

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Once home to the Lafayette Theater, the lot on Seventh Avenue between West 131st and West 132nd streets has experienced quite a transformation over the past century. Beginning in 1912, the Times explains, the block was home to the theater, the Ubangi Club, and Connie's Inn and played host to performers like Louis Armstrong, Fats Walter, and Duke Ellington. The?deep breath?Williams Institutional Christian Methodist Episcopal Church bought the entire block in 1951, and it remained a church until 2006, when the building fell into foreclosure. Which brings us to today, and the rendering above by Meltzer Mandl Architects. A development corporation purchased the site after the foreclosure and commissioned the architects to design a 166,000-square-foot building. Currently under construction, this is what it should look like when finished in winter 2014.

The building, called the Lafayette, will be a residential/church hybrid. The residential part: 115 rental apartments, some for lower-income families. The church part: 19,000 square feet, with an entrance on Seventh Avenue, a sanctuary to seat 700, classrooms, offices, and a fellowship hall.
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