Harlem’s National Urban League is moving to 121 West 125th Street on Harlem‘s “Mains Street” as part of a $242 million development. The historic civil rights organization is leaving its Financial District location for a 21,500-square-foot plot between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and Lenox Avenue. Designed by Beyer Blinder Belle and developed by BRP Companies, Dabar Development, L+M Development Partners, Taconic Partners and Prusik Group, the mixed-use project will yield a total of 414,000 square feet and rise 17 stories. Additional components include 170 affordable housing units, 70,000-square-feet of Class A office space, and 110,000 square feet of retail.
As the city’s first civil rights museum, the Urban Civil Rights Museum Experience is expected to make a significant contribution to the history of racial justice in the north. The United Negro College Fund, One Hundred Black Men of New York, and the Harlem Jazzmobile will also have headquarters within the building. Local community groups will have access to below-market-rate office space, and the 170 affordable housing units will be supported through the state’s Homes and Community Renewal program.
Renderings of the project depict a six-story podium with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, a punched-in balcony outlined in darker glass, and ground-floor retail frontage on West 125th Street. On West 126th Street, the podium has a tiered massing, also with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, and light-hued concrete accents. The 11-story tower on top is set back on both sides of the through lot, offering plenty of terrace space. Most likely housing the residential units, the high-rise massing is clad in light-colored masonry and culminates in a flat roof parapet topped with mechanicals.
Groundbreaking is expected to occur in the next few weeks. An estimated completion date has been announced for late 2023.
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