Real Estate Developer Keller Williams To Stop Calling South Harlem ‘SoHa’

July 5, 2017

This is the power of persistent community outrage. Keller Williams, the big New York City real-estate firm accused of rebranding South Harlem as “SoHa” (in the tradition of more affluent NYC neighborhoods like SoHo, Tribeca, DUMBO, etc.).

The goal was to attract an, ahem, *different kind* of prospective homeowner to the neighborhood, has reportedly agreed to retire the term after massive backlash from neighbors and politicians.

A spokesperson for Keller Williams told NY1 this week that the firm’s so-called “SoHa Team” — who “chose this name because they have lived and worked in this part of Harlem and the Upper West Side for nearly a decade” — will be changing their name to something less offensive.

“The team has a passion for the people, the history, and the culture of the neighborhood they also call home,” the spokesperson told NY1 in a statement. “With respect to the neighborhood and people of Harlem, they will change their team name at Keller Williams NYC.”

A source has reached out to Keller Williams for confirmation. (And to ask why the term “SoHa” still appears on the firm’s Facebook page and street signage.)

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We’ve also reached out to newly elected State Sen. Brian Benjamin, who represents Harlem in Albany and went so far as to propose a bill banning SoHa last month, to see whether he plans to continue the campaign now that Keller Williams has reportedly backed down. We’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

“How dare someone try to rob our culture and try to act as if we were not here, and create a new name and a new reality — as if the clock started when other people showed up?” Benjamin said at an anti-SoHa rally in May.

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