Shuttered School Building To Be Reborn As Affordable East Harlem Housing
A long-abandoned school building in East Harlem is getting a massive makeover and will offer in a couple of years affordable housing, artists' workspaces and spaces for community organizations. NY1's Real Estate reporter Jill Urban filed the following report.
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P.S. 109 in East Harlem was a public school built back in 1902 which was permanently closed over a decade ago after it started to fall into disrepair. Now, the abandoned eyesore is about to get a new lease on life.
"P.S. 109 is going to be a used as a mixed-use facility," says Shawn McLearen, the project manager of ArtSpace. "It brings together affordable housing for artists and their families, live/work-spaces, with non-residential spaces for arts and community organizations."
NY1 was the first station to get a look inside the rundown old space on East 99th Street. It will soon be transformed into 90 affordable housing units that will range from studios to two bedrooms. Rents will run from $600-$1,100 dollars per month.
Five units will serve as space for arts and cultural related non-profits and the building will also offer various amenities for the community.
"Because of the shape of the building, we have a southern courtyard that faces 99th Street and a northern courtyard that faces our neighbors in the NYCHA building. The northern courtyard will have a community garden," said McLearen. "We also hope to have a community kitchen as one of our five non-residential units, as well as a permanent green market outside during the appropriate seasons."
The building has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, which means much if its architectural significance and history will be preserved in its new life.
The $50 million project is a result of a partnership between ArtSpace Projects, a national nonprofit real estate developer for the arts, and El Barrio’s Operation Fightback, an East Harlem community development organization.
Gustavo Rosado of Operation Fightback says this will be a boost for the community.
"It’s going to be a beacon to the neighborhood, of cultural preservation, affordable housing and also economic development because it’s life-work space for artists," says Rosado.
Residents will be selected through a lottery system that will be conducted by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Information on that will be made available to the community as the project nears completion.
Construction is expected to begin in the coming months and P.S. 109 will be ready for occupancy by early 2014.