In 1863, in the midst of New York City’s devastating draft riots, a mob torched the Colored Orphan Asylum’s orphanage at Fifth Avenue and West 43rd Street. The children and staff escaped the violence and flames and eventually found refuge at a sister aid organization, the Children’s Village. We recently completed the development of a 60-unit building that reunites the Colored Orphan Asylum (now called Harlem Dowling – West Side Center for Family and Children’s Services) and Children’s Village in a 12-story, new construction building at the corner of West 127th Street and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., in central Harlem.
Developed on a vacant, city-owned site, the new building offers 16,000 square feet of service and administrative space for both agencies, as well as 12 units of housing for youth aging out of the foster care system and 48 apartments for foster care families and other low-income households. The housing for youth occupies the top two floors of the building, giving the young residents, most of whom have never had a room of their own, spectacular views across the city. A food pantry with access from West 127th Street offers free groceries to families in the neighborhood. Building tenants have access to a roof garden on the second floor of the building.
Total project costs were $26.8 million. We worked with Citi Community Capital, Richman Housing and the New York City Housing Development Corporation to pilot an innovative financing model that permits the redevelopment of significant nonresidential space within a low-income housing financing project. Urban Quotient designed the building; Mega Contracting completed the construction.