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Mayor de Blasio, City Officials, the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem, Monadnock Development and Alembic Community Development Announce Opening of 79 Affordable Homes and Community Facility for Kids in Harlem

October 20, 2016

Famed Italian Renaissance-styled former school building affordable to working families; boasts state-of-the art youth facility serving residents and 1,000 local children a year

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been today announced the opening of The Residences at PS 186, a 79-apartment mixed-use affordable housing project that is also home to a more than 11,000-square-foot state-of-the-art clubhouse for the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem (BGCH). The homes will be affordable to individuals earning as little as $24,000, and families with incomes of $31,000 a year.

“This is truly a wonderful day for the Harlem community. Bringing families and kids back to this beautiful and historic school building is an amazing example of the work we are doing to re-energizing local communities, build affordable homes, and keep our children in safe and exceptional learning environments. I congratulate the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem, the families living in this building and everyone who brought us to this moment,” said Mayor de Blasio.

“This elegant restoration and adaptive use of P.S. 186 is truly worth celebrating. The project offers affordable homes to low-income families earning a range of incomes, and serves as a new and bigger space for the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem. It’s a wonderful asset for the community. I thank all the development partners who made this restoration possible, and welcome the new residents to their homes,” said HPD Commissioner Vicki Been.

“For more than 35 years, we have been an anchor for our community, providing programs that support academic success, healthy living, and good character for thousands of local children,” said BGCH Executive Director, Dominique R. Jones. “This new chapter in the Boys & Girls Club of Harlem’s long history here in Harlem signifies our renewed commitment to preparing local young people for the challenges of today in a new Club house equipped with the latest technology and learning resources. Our partnership with the City and our development partners is the first of its kind in the Boys & Girls Club of America movement and represents a new model for community development.”

The refurbished school building is a part of the City’s Housing New York: A Five-Borough, Ten-Year Plan, which has created 53,000 affordable homes since 2014. Responding to the Mayor’s call to address the city’s need for affordable housing opportunities, the City and development partners, like the Boys and Girls Club, are working on innovative projects like the reimagined P.S. 186 building to address the city’s growing need.

Designed by Dattner Architects and developed by Monadnock and Alembic, The Residences at PS 186 retains a number of the former school’s identifiable architectural features including exterior terra cotta ornaments, arched openings, columns, and boasts the new addition of a new decorative cornice. The building features original 14 foot ceilings, historically correct windows, ornamental stairs some preserved classroom locations and wood trim through-out.

The five-story, Italian Renaissance-style, H-shaped school building opened in 1903, and served as an elementary school for 72 years. Several well-known New Yorkers attended P.S. 186, among them Harry Belafonte, Arthur Mitchell, the founder and artistic director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem. But, by mid-1970s, the school building had fallen into severe disrepair and was deemed unsafe. In 1975, the school moved and the building sat vacant.

Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said, “When disrepair is transformed, when we take an unused property and give it new life, communities win. I’m so pleased to have worked on this project over the past several years. With affordable housing and a new Boys and Girls Club, this project proves that a single building can make a difference in many lives. It’s taken many years to get to this point – and we couldn’t be prouder to celebrate its success.” 

“The P.S. 186 project is a model for leveraging yesterday’s community assets to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “This new building combines sorely-needed affordable housing with a brand new facility for a great social service organization.”

“Thanks to those of you in our community and your many decades of stick-to-it-ive-ness, the children and youth of our community will benefit for years to come,” said Assembly Member Herman D. Farrell, Jr.

“What we have here is an excellent model for adaptive reuse. The transformation of P.S. 186 from a struggling school into a state of the art hybrid complex is an innovative example of how we can create affordable housing that benefits the entire Harlem community, It's fantastic that we found a way to both preserve this historic structure and utilize it for the things our community needs most: youth programming and affordable housing. Let this be a lesson to countless other underutilized spaces in the art of the possible," said Council Member Mark Levine, Co-Chair of the Affordable Housing Preservation Task Force. "It took the collective efforts of a huge number of community leaders and local officials to make this a reality. Today we are here to celebrate your hard work. This new clubhouse for the Boys & Girls Club of Harlem will be home to countless programs that will benefit children in Harlem for decades to come. And for 79 families this new facility will simply be home. I would especially like to commend HPD and all of the funders involved for making this a project that not only serves low income families but also true middle income families whom desperately want to keep in our neighborhood.”

“I applaud the Harlem Boys and Girls Club on this tremendous accomplishment.  For years, P.S. 186 sat vacant.  Under the leadership of a new board and led by its new executive director, Dominique Jones, the work is finally completed.  I look forward to seeing the faces of happy children attending STEM, media and educational programs at this beautiful building and am pleased that affordable housing was a priority at this mixed used site.  Congrats to all,” said Council Member Inez Dickens.

“Monadnock is proud to be a part of another innovative project that brings community and housing developments into alignment in New York City,” said Monadnock Vice President Tom Ciano. “For decades, this building served as an educational hub for the neighborhood and we are excited to help make it a place that will continue to serve children while contributing to a broader revitalization of the community with much-needed affordable housing.”

“It has been a long but rewarding journey for us at Alembic to work with the Boys and Girls Club and Monadnock to make this development a reality.” Alembic Principal Mark Reed said. “To be able to preserve this beautiful building and transform it into something that will be a real asset to this neighborhood and a restored beacon for the community, that is at the core of the Alembic mission.”

Commissioner Been was today joined by city and elected officials, Boys and Girls Club of Harlem Executive Director Dominique R. Jones and Board Chair Christopher Watler, Monadnock Development Vice President Tom Ciano, Alembic Community Development Principal Mark Reed, and community partners, at a ribbon cutting to celebrate the grand opening.

The new homes are studios, deluxe studios, one-bedrooms, and two bedroom apartments, and a unit for an onsite superintendent. Affordability has been set to serve a wide range of household incomes and includes apartments affordable to individuals earning a minimum of between $24,130 and $95,250 annually, or between $31,008 and $122,400 for a household of three. A wide majority of the incomes served in this development are low-income households. The residential amenities include a video intercom system, a laundry room, a community room, and a bike storage room.

By integrating benefits and amenities that support low-income families, this development serves as a model for community development. The Boys and Girls Club of Harlem has served local children, ages 6 through 18, since 1980. With this new space, the non-profit organization will serve twice as many West and Central Harlem kids it was able to previously.

The 11,302-square-foot space club space allows for diversified programming for both young people and families. Enhanced services and programs include additional STEM learning resources, a new Teen Center, a digital media center, college and career readiness training, and financial literacy courses.

The total development cost of the P.S. 186 was $48.6 million. HPD provided $20.4 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits toward permanent financing. HPD also provided $6 million in City Subsidy. In addition, Former City Councilman Robert Jackson (7th District Manhattan) provided $3 million in Reso-A funding, which is also counted toward City Subsidy. Because the building’s historic features are preserved in this development, it’s being considered for the National Register for Historic Places, a designation that includes $11.5 million in State and Federal Historic Tax Credits. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) provided $90,000 toward permanent financing. The Bank of New York provided construction financing and Red Stone Equity Partners, LLC served as the tax credit syndicator. The Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) is the permanent lender for this project.

All apartments in this development were leased through the City’s affordable housing lottery process. Learn more about the affordable housing lottery process and about available housing lotteries by visiting the links below:

The NYC Housing Connect website now serves Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, and Spanish speakers. Each existing housing lottery advertisement and all upcoming lotteries are also available in each of the above listed languages. Translations were funded by Citi Community Development.

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