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Harlem Building Once Set for Condos Will Instead Get a Homeless Shelter

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A neighborhood church’s community center was set for a condo conversion

A Harlem church sold one of its properties to make way for a condo building, but is instead getting a homeless shelter, the New York Daily News reports. The Mother African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church sold its community center at 151 West 136th Street to developer David Levitan, last year, for $7 million, after being over $1 million in debt.

The developer had promised a condo building at the time, which members of the community hoped would revitalize the area, but instead they’ve now learned that the developer is planning a homeless shelter at the site, adding to at least three existing shelters close by.

Levitan was allegedly in talks with the nearby Kelly Transitional Center at West 127th Street to relocate to this site, but no deal was signed. Now members of the Church and local residents want the city to withhold any permits to prevent the project from moving forward.

A moratorium set by the local community board in 2008 prevented the construction or expansion of any special interest facilities due to a saturation in the neighborhood, and this project is in violation of that, according to the Daily News.