Alembic and partners, the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem and Monadnock Development LLC, broke ground on this historic renovation in mid-November. The Italian Renaissance-style, five-story school building opened in 1903, and served as an elementary school for 72 years. Called P.S. 186, the school was designed by American architect and engineer Charles B. J. Snyder. By the mid-1970s, however, the building fell into disrepair and was deemed unsafe. In 1975, P.S. 186 closed its doors, but the building stood vacant and exposed to the elements for many years.
Strongly supported by the community, the development team worked diligently to create and execute a development plan that would preserve the original structure. The partners are taking great care to preserve the architectural features that lend the building its historical significance, and it is anticipated that P.S. 186 will soon be included on the National Register of Historic Places.
The plan for the five-story structure will contain 19 studio units, 47 one-bedroom units, and 12 two-bedroom units. In an effort to fulfill the neighborhood’s needs and the de Blasio Administration’s call for affordable housing for all New Yorkers, this development will have designated units that will be affordable to very low, low, middle-income and market-rate households.
The remaining development space will serve as a new clubhouse for the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem. The Boys and Girls Club of Harlem currently serves an average of 1,500 young New Yorkers, ages 6 through 18 years of age, annually. It is projected that this new location will increase the Club’s capacity to 2,000 youth served and an average daily attendance of 150 individuals. The new location will expand the group’s reach to include the Washington Heights community.
The total development cost of the P.S. 186 development is approximately $48.6 million. HPD will provide $20.4 million in 9% Low-Income Housing Tax Credits toward permanent financing. HPD also provided $5.1 million in City Capital. This development qualified for the National Park Services Historic Tax Credits due to the preservation of the building’s historic features. The National Park Service provided $11.5 million in Historic Tax Credits toward permanent financing. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will provide $90,000 toward permanent financing. The Bank of New York will act as lender. Red Stone Equity Partners, LLC will act as tax credit syndicator.
“It may have taken longer than expected, but we always believed this day would come,” said Shirley Lewis, chair, BGCH Board of Directors. “We are delighted, and enormously appreciative of the support we’ve received from Alembic, Monadnock, HPD and the many other supporters and funders who have come through and made this day possible. When complete, the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem will be a true destination for this community.”