City unveils plan for 600 new apartments, Afro-Latin Music Center in East Harlem


The city has unveiled a plan for 600 new apartments along with an Afro-Latin Music and Arts Center  and an upgraded community center in East Harlem.

The project is one of the first major developments since the rezoning of East Harlem rezoning and, according to HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll, delivers on significant commitments in the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan for affordable housing, education, and workforce training investments.

“These incredible projects are delivering on the City’s commitment to invest in job training, youth, education, and more affordable housing for East Harlem. They are also proving that affordable housing can be an anchor for the arts and the entire community’s well-being,” said Carroll.


“I am so proud to announce plans for both the new Afro-Latin
Music and Arts Center and renovated multi-service facility that will enhance
the community’s quality of life. I want to thank our partners, The Community
Builders, Ascendant Neighborhood Development, Mega Contracting, Lantern
Organization, and the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance for their creative and
thoughtful leadership.”

Mega Contracting, Lantern Organization, The Community
Builders and Ascendant Neighborhood Development were selected to build the
properties following the East Harlem RFP released in 2019, which sought plans
to redevelop two sites that include affordable housing alongside retail and
community services.

Located on the east side of Park Avenue between East 118th Street and East 119th Street, the former New York Police Department 25th precinct parking site (pictured top) will be transformed into a residential building with 330 affordable homes, of which 99 homes will be set aside for formerly homeless households.

Mega Contracting and Lantern Organization will build the development,
called Timbale Terrace, which will also house a 16,000 s/f Afro-Latin Music and
Arts (ALMA) Center, operated by the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance (ALJA). The
facility will include practice rooms, community performance and art gallery
spaces, recording studios, and street-facing retail.

In addition to hosting professional musical performances,
the community partner ALJA will offer free or affordable music education programming
for all ages, job training in the arts, and run an anti-gun initiative through
the new center.

The Community Builders and Ascendant Neighborhood Development will develop the second site located at 413 East 120th Street, to be known as The Beacon.


The East Harlem Multi-Service Center site will give rise to an affordable 250-home residential building, of which 75 homes, or 30 percent, will be set aside for formerly homeless households. The new residential building will be constructed at the back of the existing East Harlem Multi-Service Center, which will be rehabilitated and expanded.

The original architecture of the multi-service center will
be preserved and include additional space for after-school programming, a new
atrium, green space, and the Wagner Walk walk path connecting the residential
building to the multi-service facility. The renovated facility will continue to
host the nonprofit organizations serving East Harlem.

“East Harlem is the community that best represents the mission
of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, to use music as an entry point for service to
the community and to reflect back to that community the beauty and ingenuity of
its citizens,” said Arturo O’Farrill, Founder, Artistic Director, Afro Latin
Jazz Alliance. “Partnering with the City of New York, the Lantern Organization
and Mega development is an opportunity to put theory into daily practice. We
are honored to lock arms with these partners and serve the people of East
Harlem in a manner designed by their needs. Timbale Terrace will be a place
that welcomes all!”

“Lantern Organization is thrilled to partner with the City
of New York, Mega Development, and the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance to create
Timbale Terrace,” said Dan Kent, President/CEO, Lantern. “We are grateful to
the East Harlem community members who inspired this project through their
advocacy for mixed-income housing, housing for vulnerable populations, and an
arts and cultural center dedicated to this incredible neighborhood. We look
forward to working with our neighbors to ensure Timbale Terrace achieves these
shared goals for East Harlem.”

“Crafting a vision for Timbale Terrace was a labor of love
for our team,” said Mega principal Hercules Argyriou. “Throughout our process,
we were dedicated to creating a new mixed-use project that would address the
needs articulated by the East Harlem community — 100% affordable housing that
prioritizes those most in need with an arts and cultural center that celebrates
East Harlem’s history and activates the Park Avenue corridor. In partnership
with Lantern Organization and the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, we are honored to
have the opportunity to realize our vision for this important location.”

“At TCB we pride ourselves on building and sustaining strong
communities where all people can thrive,” said Desiree Andrepont, Senior
Project Manager at The Community Builders. “It is a privilege to partner with
Ascendant Neighborhood Development Corporation and bring together the East
Harlem community with this exciting project. The transformation of the Multi
Service Center will create a collaborative space to unite neighborhood leaders,
local organizations and the greater community, and the development will provide
much-needed affordable housing for generations to come.”

“For over thirty years, Ascendant has worked with our
partners and allies to preserve, protect, and celebrate the unique history and
heritage of East Harlem,” said Chris Cirillo, Executive Director at Ascendant
Neighborhood Development Corporation. “We are profoundly grateful to have the
opportunity to re-envision the Multi-Service Center as a sustainable,
resilient, and inclusive 21st century community hub. We look forward to working
with community members, Wagner Houses residents, Multi-Service Center tenants,
Community Board 11, Council Member Ayala, and all of the other stakeholders who
have helped to shape the vision for this site and the broader neighborhood.”

In 2017, the New York City Council approved the East Harlem
rezoning to identify opportunities to create new mixed-income housing and
preserve existing affordable housing. The East Harlem Rezoning builds on
recommendations of the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan (EHNP), developed through
a comprehensive community planning process and led by a committee of local
stakeholders including former New York City Council Speaker Melissa
Mark-Viverito, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, Manhattan Community
Board 11 and Community Voices Heard. After a series of community meetings, the
EHNP was issued with 232 recommendations for addressing key neighborhood
issues.  In addition to authorizing the
Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program for East Harlem, the rezoning creates
opportunities for economic development while preserving the community’s
existing commercial and manufacturing uses

The East Harlem rezoning also prioritizes creating more than
2,600 affordable homes, serving the lowest-earning families by leveraging city
subsidies and the transformation of local public-owned sites. Other East Harlem
affordable housing projects, include the 100 percent affordable Sendero Verde
project, a mixed-use development primarily serving low-income households.
Sendero Verde will become the nation’s largest Passive House development,
providing more than 700 affordable homes. At least 20 percent of the homes will
serve families earning less than $25,000, and 60 percent will serve households
earning less than $49,000. In addition, 79 affordable apartments are for
seniors. Once completed, Sendero Verde will also feature a community center, a
Harlem Children’s Zone charter school, and a community art space.

Additionally, the City announced the East Harlem El Barrio
Community Land Trust (EHEBCLT) alongside a $13.2 million project to convert
four city-owned buildings into affordable housing under the CLT’s ownership.
The EHEBCLT is the first CLT to receive public land, capital financing and
startup support from the City in decades. Under the model, a board of tenants,
community members, and nonprofit leaders will oversee and operate the
development as an affordable rental mutual housing association.

Since the rezoning, the City has financed over 7,500
affordable homes in East Harlem. The zoning changes also support the
construction of stations in the next phase of the Second Avenue Subway by
planning for needed elevators, station access, and ventilation facilities.

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