The Harlem Shake has come and gone, but Harlem is still slowly being shaken up by new construction projects. Just take a look at 125th Street, where the changes are as large as Columbia's Manhattanville expansion and as small as retailers and restaurants opening next to the Apollo Theater. Curbed intern David Stein took a stroll along 125th Street to map the changes for the latest installment in our Microhood Maps series. Know of a project we've missed, or have an update on one listed below? Please let us know.Read More
Mapping the Changes Coming to Harlem's 125th Street
Columbia's new Manhattanville campus is already underway and drastically larger than any other project currently in development on 125th Street. Yet the most visible sign of progressa $200 million "Jerome L. Greene Science Center"is merely the tip of Colubmia's iceberg. Twelve more buildings totaling 6.8 million square feet are destined for the blocks between 125th and 133rd Streets, and though Columbia claims the campus will be "pedestrian" in scale and widely accessible to the public, the renderings do look intimidating. (Maybe that's why they keep them small?)
Create @ Harlem Green
The 126th Street entrance to the former Tastee Bakery factorya mere calculator toss from the Manhattanville campusreveals a building still in significant need of repair and improvements. Developers Janus Partners and Monadnock Construction won the project from the NYCEDC after it was re-zoned in 2011 and have since planned to create nearly 250,000 square feet of manufacturing, office, and other commercial space, including tech-friendly areas. So far, however, the most notable tenant expected to move in will be the Harlem Brewing Company. Local residents are skeptical that the project will happen altogether: apparently a few "big ass" trees are growing inside.
301 W 125th St Shopping Complex
The Adjimis and Aurora Capital are wrapping up a 100,000 square foot retail project at the corner of 125th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard. Joe's Crab Shack and Party City are already up-and-running, and DSW Shoes and Blink Fitness are bound to open their doors any day now. If those sound like good neighbors, a sizeable chunk of ground floor space still looks to be available.
Red Lobster (And More)
No longer will Times Square wield an iron claw when it comes to Manhattan's chain-scale seafood fans: theater-goers might now be tempted to 125th Street, where Red Lobster is about to open directly next to the Apollo Theater, along with a couple retailers or another, smaller restaurant (to be determined). The project is being developed by Gotham and Grid Properties, the same groups responsible for the nearby Harlem USA center.
Mart 125, a former "indoor market place for African vendors," lies directly across the street from the Apollo and Victoria Theaters, which might explain why the NYCEDC has been trying to re-vitalize the property since the late 1990's. Although the space was apparently decrepit even while still in use as a market, Mart 125 remains dark and closed. The EDC is seeking a community-minded developer to fix everything and incorporate a 15,000 square foot National Jazz Museum and visitor center.
If it happens, the Victoria Theater project could shake-up central Harlem big-time. Danforth Development Partners and Exact Capital are planning a pretty sizeable mixed-use project: a cultural arts center, a 210-room Cambria Suites hotel, and 230 apartments (although we've heard as many as 299 units). The two-towered project will cost $143 million, which is why the whole thing is a big "if": most other recent projects on 125th Street have been limited to about $15 to $30 million in costs. That being said, there's a big need for hotels in Harlem.
National Urban League HQ
Harlem's other big project is just starting to get off the ground: a 400,000 square foot, $225 million office building, retail and conference center, parking garage, and affordable housing complex. The developer, Hudson Companies, generally specializes in residential-only projects but appears to have earned the city's trust, as well as a strong relationship with the National Urban League, which will occupy most of the complex's office space once everything is finished. Big-name architecture firm HOK is the designer.
Whole Foods Site
Despite DOB filing activity as recently as May, the Whole Foods / Burlington Coat Factory / American Eagle Outfitters project bound for the corner of 125th Street and Malcom X Boulevard remains an empty and lot. The lot is also sizeable, and yet Whole Foods itself is expected to occupy only 39,000 square feet, which means there's likely to be room for even bigger ideas (Hotel? Rentals?). The developer is Jeff Sutton, who was once profiled in the Observer as the "King of New York Retail." So maybe Whole Foods is the whole truth after all...
Hotel (or Retail) Project
The last time we heard anything about this site, it was... confusing. At one point, renderings from Curtis + Ginsberg Architects suggested a 200,000 square foot office building was on its way. In 2010 we learned of a new plan from The Real Deal, where the office building was ditched in favor of a luxury hotel, which was shortly therefater ditched in favor of a Hilton Garden Inn. The lot has since sold to RCG Longview, an affiliate of Estreich & Company, who appears to be partnering with the Feil Organization to build a 125,000 square foot retail and office complex. However, DOB filings show plans for a 14-story building, rather than the "five-story" building described by Feil. The confusion continues!
Corn Exchange Building
Work is moving ahead on a gut renovation of one of Harlem's most distinct landmarks, the Corn Exchange Building. It was originally built in 1883 and served as headquarters for a couple major banks until bad times arrived in the form of a poor economy in the 1970's and a fire in the 1990's. After being partially demolished, a developer is spending $17 million to re-create 22,000 square feet of office space and 9,000 square feet of retail. It's located right next to the Metro North stop at 125th Street and Park Avenue.
Harlem M/E/C Center
The Harlem Media / Entertainment / Cultural Center was a 1.6 million square foot mega-project expected to occupy almost all of the lots between 125th and 127th Streets, and Second and Third Avenues. Beyond its pretty impressive programincluding an office, hotel, cultural center, and 840,000 square foot residential complexthe project had the backing of some well-known groups, including General Growth Partners, Archstone and Monadnock Construction. Unfortunately, the project was announced in October 2008, and General Growth went into bankruptcy just five months later. While Metro125, the residential building at 125th Street and Third Avenue was still completed in 2009 by MEC partner The Richman Group, the rest of the project appears to have timed-out.