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City-owned East Harlem lots to get 350 affordable apartments

The city is seeking proposals for two 100% affordable housing developments

An aerial view of East Harlem. Getty Images

Two city-owned lots will transform into 100 percent below-market-rate housing developments with some apartments set aside for the formerly homeless.

The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) released a Request For Proposals (RFP) on Thursday looking for plans to redevelop two East Harlem sites with 350 units of affordable housing alongside retail and community space. The RFP is a product of the East Harlem Housing Plan and was developed using community input gathered through the neighborhood’s 2017 rezoning with the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan.

Area City Council member Diana Ayala touted the forthcoming developments as a win for longtime locals.

“East Harlem, like many other neighborhoods in our city, is experiencing an affordable housing crisis,” Ayala said in a statement. “The release of this RFP brings our community one step closer to creating truly affordable housing that is reflective of our socioeconomic, civic, and commercial needs.”

Under the RFP, the city is looking for plans to redevelop the East Harlem Multi-Service Center at 413 East 120th Street. The site was once a school, but currently is the hub of a dozen nonprofit community-based organizations. The new development will relocate those groups to build a project with entirely below-market-rate units—a minimum of 30 percent of that housing must serve formerly homeless households—along with new community and office space.

A relocation plan to find the community-based organization new homes must also be included in the RFP, according to HPD. The city will also work with those groups to explore having them return to the site.

The city site currently operates as a 75-space parking lot for the NYPD’s 25th Precinct on the east side of Park Avenue between East 118th and 119th streets. Under the RFP, another development will rise there with 100 percent below market rate housing. Preference will be given to those who “enhance the emerging commercial corridor” in this section of Park Avenue.

Income levels for the apartments at both developments have yet to be determined.

Developers can submit proposals for one or both sites. The deadline for submissions is November 26. For more information and to obtain a copy of the RFP, with the project’s website here.