A combination of investment in old properties and the development of new sustainable projects is revitalizing the streets of Harlem. While celebrating and protecting Harlem’s rich history, the district is at the same time looking forward in order to provide comfortable and environmentally friendly homes for all. The continuing development of the Victoria Theater is a good example of this objective. Historic features are to be preserved and enhanced, while in the new conjoined residential building, half the apartments will offer affordable rents.
Creating Sustainable Developments
With two-thirds of New York’s pollution produced by buildings, the city’s target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 must involve sustainable housing developments. Using rigorous standards for energy efficiency, passive homes with a reduced ecological footprint are produced and, in East Harlem, an affordable building project of 700 units could become the largest passive house development in the country. Environmentally responsible builders Mangum work with a sustainable focus when creating and updating homes. Developers that look to the future in this way create housing that not only offers the cost-saving benefits of green features, but that could also help the city meet its targets to tackle pollution.
Converting Affordable Apartments
As well as building new housing, existing buildings can be re-used and upgraded to improve sustainability and affordability. Nearly 2,000 rental units in East Harlem and Roosevelt Island are to be converted to affordable apartments for low-income residents. Property tax breaks make the change financially rewarding for the developers. However, residents also benefit from upgrades to the apartments, and reassurance that the units and any new developments on the site will remain 100% affordable in the future.
Upgrading Senior Housing
Sustainability also involves maintaining existing buildings to ensure they remain fit for purpose for longer. Improvements and repairs are now required for a portfolio of property for senior housing, originally built by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Their construction and subsidized rents were funded by the federal government. However, with no money set aside for essential future repairs, HUD is now going to allow the use of private funding in order for these to be completed. In Harlem, the owners of the Joseph Yancey Houses will be applying for financing through this program in order to undertake an estimated $1 million worth of improvements.
Through repairs and renovations, affordable and specialized housing is maintained, while elements of Harlem’s unique history are still preserved. New sustainable developments also contribute to long-term affordability and bring new energy to the neighborhood.
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