Historic community revitalization initiative brings world-class David Adjaye design to permanently affordable housing, brand new children’s museum and unique early childhood education center
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito joined with community leaders, affordable housing lenders and neighborhood elected officials on Monday to celebrate Broadway Housing Communities (BHC) new Sugar Hill Development as it nears completion. The project was financed by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, which dedicated $10 million in HOME funds and $3 million in tax credits, and addition to $3 million in capital funding from the City Council.
Designed by world-renowned architect David Adjaye, the development brings together permanently affordable housing, high-quality early childhood education, and a new cultural institution to combat deep poverty and revitalize the community.
Later this summer, tenants will begin moving into the building’s 124 permanently affordable units. Fifty apartments will be affordable for families earning below $41,500 for a family of four, and 12 will serve those earning less than $24,900 for a family of four. Twenty-five apartments will be set aside for homeless New Yorkers. By creating permanently affordable homes for the lowest-income New Yorkers, Sugar Hill embodies Broadway Housing Communities’ belief that permanent, safe and affordable housing is the foundation for rebuilding lives and creating vibrant communities.
Supporting the Mayor’s additional commitment to expand access to early education for all of New York City’s 4-year-olds, BHC’s Sugar Hill Museum Preschool, opening in September, will serve up to 100 young children ages 2 to 5—including three universal pre-kindergarten classrooms serving 54 4-year-olds in full-day sessions.
All Sugar Hill Museum Preschool programs will be fully integrated with the on-site Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling. The cultural capstone of the Sugar Hill Development, the 17,000 square foot Museum will serve as a resource to both the Sugar Hill Museum Preschool and the wider community. Children enrolled in this “school in a museum” will engage with art as a permanent part of the curriculum, fostering the next generation of Sugar Hill artists and innovators.
“This is the kind of ground-up planning that builds communities and is going to help us achieve our goal of building and preserving 200,000 affordable units in the decade ahead. This is a project that genuinely meets the needs of this neighborhood, from affordable housing for those struggling to make ends meet to high-quality early education that will give kids here the best start in life. We are thrilled to work with BHC and community partners to see it completed,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“I congratulate Broadway Housing Communities on their Sugar Hill development today,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “This building will not only give more than 120 families a place to call home but provide them with resources to thrive through nonprofit programs. This is a great accomplishment, and I look forward to seeing new residents move in.”
“The Sugar Hill Development builds on what Broadway Housing Communities has learned over 30 years as an innovator in supportive housing—that permanent, safe and affordable housing is the foundation for rebuilding lives and creating vibrant communities centered around arts and education,” said Ellen Baxter, Founder and Executive Director of Broadway Housing Communities, a nonprofit pioneer of community-based solutions to poverty and homelessness. “At the same time, we know that Mayor de Blasio, with his deep commitment to affordable housing and equality, will be an incredible champion of this model to elevate the lives of all New Yorkers.”
The Sugar Hill Development brings world-class architecture to West Harlem in a way that has been shaped by the neighborhood and represents its tremendous history. Situated within the historic Sugar Hill district, the building embraces the area’s heritage as the epicenter of the Harlem Renaissance.
“The Sugar Hill Development is a new typology for affordable housing, with its mixed program of museum space, community facilities, offices and apartments. It has been incredibly exciting to work on this project with Broadway Housing Communities, and to engage with the cultural, social and physical fabric of Harlem,” said David Adjaye, Principal of Adjaye Associates and Sugar Hill Development architect. “My hope is that the building—perched high on Coogan’s Bluff—will offer a symbol of civic pride and be a valued new resource for the neighborhood.”
“I am so happy that the Broadway Housing Communities Sugar Hill development is nearing completion, having supported it since its inception,” said Comptroller Scott Stringer. “It is thoughtful development like this that truly provides long-term solutions to poverty in our city. Broadway Housing Communities deserves praise for their hard work to end inequality and provide educational and cultural resources to the community.”
“I congratulate BHC and all our partners on the Sugar Hill development,” said HPD Commissioner Vicki Been. “Not only will this project provide permanently affordable housing for low-income families, it will also add indispensable cultural and community facilities that will contribute to the vibrancy and diversity of the neighborhood and ensure that it continues to thrive.”
While touring the site, the group had the opportunity to preview “Sugar Metropolis,” the first of 22 art installations in the exhibition “If You Build It” at Sugar Hill curated by No Longer Empty, and presented in partnership with Broadway Housing Communities. The exhibition, free and open to the public, will be on multiple floors in the building from June 26 to August 10.
“No Longer Empty is excited to be invited by Broadway Housing Communities to stage a site-specific exhibition that celebrates the mission of the Sugar Hill Project and captures our shared commitment to bring together art, education, and community to enrich everyday lives,” said Manon Slome, President and Chief Curator, No Longer Empty.
Local elected officials praised the project’s vision.
“Broadway Housing Communities has done something incredible,” said Ydanis Rodriguez, 10th District City Councilmember. “Innovation in affordable housing and community development is what we need to ensure our neighborhoods flourish—this new Sugar Hill development will do just that, with the entire community benefiting from the Museum.”
“I am so proud to celebrate the new Sugar Hill development in my District today,” said Councilmember Inez Dickens, 9th District. “Not only will more than 120 families benefit from the new Sugar Hill development, but the entire community will. I applaud Broadway Housing Communities on their seventh successful community driven project, and I look forward to celebrating their next opening.”
“Responsible economic development will end inequality in our city, and the Sugar Hill development will provide affordable housing and desperately needed community programming all in one remarkable location,” said Mark Levine, City Council Member 7th District. “Broadway Housing Communities has created a place where families won’t just live or sleep, but rather a place that will foster a deeper connection to their community.”
“The Sugar Hill Development is hugely important for this community,” said Assemblyman Denny Farrell, Jr. “Broadway Housing Communities has created a unique space for residents and neighbors alike. I am proud to be here today.”
“I am so thankful to see the transformative effects of the project on my beloved childhood neighborhood.” said the Rev. Georgiette Morgan-Thomas, Chair of Community Board 9.
In assembling the financing for the $80.2 million project, Broadway Housing Communities received foundation gifts from the Sirus Fund, New York Community Trust and the Oak foundation, among others, as well as government funding and private support from Capital One Bank, which provided $36.5 million in equity, as well as a $25 million construction loan. In addition, the Corporation for Supportive Housing and Brownfields Revitalization LLC provided valuable new market tax credit allocations. New York State provided $3 million in Homeless Housing Assistance Corporation financing.
The project also received awards from both Federal Home Loan Bank of New York through member bank HSBC, and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta through Capital One Bank. The Mulford Foundation and Deutsche Bank Foundation provided seed capital for pre-development costs.
“We are thrilled to serve as the lead bank for a development that will enrich the Sugar Hill neighborhood with new, affordable housing and facilities that will foster education, cultural arts and community development. This development is a beautiful place for residents to live, work and thrive,” said Laura Bailey, Managing Vice President, Community Development Finance, Capital One Bank. “At Capital One Bank, we believe investing in affordable housing is about more than financing new construction. It’s about investing in economic opportunities for individuals, families and communities. As such, we’re proud to provide over $25 million construction loan and $36.5 million in equity, including New Markets Tax Credits, to support the Sugar Hill community.”
“I am enormously proud of what we’ve accomplished at Sugar Hill and hope that Broadway housing Communities’ innovative model will inspire others to invest in the future of our children,” said Susan U. Halpern, President of the Sirus Fund, whose leadership gift enabled Broadway Housing Communities to acquire the Sugar Hill site.
The legal community stepped in to provide Broadway Housing Communities with pro-bono counsel, allowing the project to move forward. Sidley Austin represented Broadway Housing Community in pre-development and acquisition; Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel provided legal counsel surrounding rezoning and land use; and Paul Hastings represented Broadway Housing with transactional and contractual issues.
Upcoming events at the Sugar Hill Development include the launch of the universal pre-kindergarten program and the unveiling of the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling, both opening this fall.
About Broadway Housing Communities
The mission of Broadway Housing Communities (BHC), a nonprofit formed in 1983, has evolved over three decades from pioneering housing solutions for the homeless to a more comprehensive community-based strategy serving children and families in deep generational poverty with housing, early childhood education, and cultural opportunities. Based in the neighborhoods of West Harlem and Washington Heights, where more than 70 percent of children are born into poverty, BHC has sponsored and manages six residential buildings, two community art galleries, and a licensed early childhood center. The Sugar Hill Development is BHC’s seventh building and first new construction initiative.
The evolution of BHC’s work began in the early 1980s, demonstrating an integrated approach to supportive housing for single homeless individuals. Housing children and families in the 1990s revealed the depth of educational needs and the benefits of cultural arts initiatives to enriching and sustaining healthy residential communities. Dorothy Day Apartments, BHC’s sixth building, completed in 2003, includes an art gallery and an Early Childhood Education Center for resident and neighborhood preschool children that has served over three hundred children and families.