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Harlem’s National Black Theatre may transform into massive mixed-use complex

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It’ll include apartments, retail, and a new 30,000-square-foot theater

Via Harlem Bespoke

The National Black Theatre, a cultural institution in Harlem, is gearing up for a major revamp. According to The Real Deal, the theater is teaming up with L+M Development Partners to redevelop the site, which fronts a full block of Fifth Avenue between 125th and 126th streets, into a mixed-use building. It'll hold 240 apartments and a brand new, 30,000-square-foot theater.

A few years back, the theater was on the brink of foreclosure after struggling to finance the space since 2002. In 2012, the building's debt holder took over the property.

Now, the theater and L+M are hoping to rezone the site so they can triple the allowable square footage, from around 68,000 square feet to more than 240,000 square feet. The team will also apply for a bonus that offers four additional square feet of buildable floor space for every square foot of theater or arts space the developer builds, according to TRD.

The rezoning application was approved by the community board last month, and is awaiting a vote by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

After years of uncertainties and shifting ownership, the site is now owned in a 50/50 partnership by Michael Lythcott—who originally rescued the property—and L+M.