125th Street in East Harlem ~ a Work in Progress?




One East Harlem will be located at 201 East 125th Street. Rendering courtesy of S9 Architecture will include a two-story supermarket! The building topped-off in June, 2020.

125th Street in East Harlem has seen a constant stream of renovations and building over this past several years. We thought this might be a good time to review what we know about projects coming to East Harlem this year, and continue to update as the year unfolds.

In addition, the Second Avenue Subway extension, which will run to a new station between Park and Lexington Avenues, will affect new building along East 125th Street (Durst and Extell) ~ an Update Here.

A recent report by GMJ&A to CB11 on May 13, 2020 gives an in-depth view of East 125th Street, a work in progress.

An excellent article posted by The City in April 2019 takes a deep-dive into phase two, along with issues related to displacement and eminent domain.

Rendering of the Manhattan Greenway in East Harlem. Image courtesy NYC Mayor’s Office

Before we begin, here’s an update on the Second Avenue Subway digging currently taking place. Rig #1 near 119th Street and Rig #2 near Lenox Avenue, along 125th Street. These rigs are conducting soil tests for Phase Two. The machines dig 160 feet down to survey for soil quality and locate buried utility lines. The workers are outside contractors – not MTA employees – so they can not answer many questions, but the Second Avenue Subway Community Center on East 125th Street between Madison Avenue and Park Avenue can help answer all your questions. Stop by, check out their display.


Let’s begin on 125th Street and the East River, with the $100M commitment toward an East Harlem waterfront project, creating a ‘Manhattan Greenway’ between East 125th and East 132nd Streets. The project will create a seven-acre park and a pedestrian and bicycle path. Badly needed repairs are also scheduled to be made on the waterfront between East 96th and East 125th Streets. The East River Greenway Project is expected to get underway in 2020 with an anticipated finish date in 2023, working with New York City Parks Department and the Economic Development Corporation.

One East Harlem will be located at 201 East 125th Street. Rendering courtesy of S9 Architecture

One East Harlem just topped-off at 201 East 125th Street, the former site of an MTA bus depot. It will contain 300 affordable apartments and 100 market-rate units, as well as 65,000 square feet of commercial area, with retail space that will span two floors and contain dedicated parking in the lower level; in addition, 5,000 square feet dedicated to local retail; 10,000 square feet of public open space; and 5,000 square feet for an unspecified cultural facility.

One East Harlem is a 19-story mixed-use building designed by S9 Architecture. The reinforced concrete structure prominently rises above its surroundings and will yield over 420,000 square feet of newly built space. Work broke ground last summer and required the demolition of a couple low-rise structures occupying the site. Richman Group Development, Bridges Development Group, and Monadnock Development are the developers of the project, and received a mix of public and private funding from Citigroup, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and the New York City Housing Development Corporation.

Amenities for residents include a business center, outdoor lounge area above the podium and at the rooftop level, a fitness center, and sub-grade parking. The closest subways are the 4, 5, and 6 trains at the 125th Street station, located at the intersection of East 125th Street and Lexington Avenue. One block further to the west is the Harlem-125th Street station on Hudson Line of the Metro-North. Occupancy is expected sometime in 2021.

201 East 125th Street, anticipated completion date is Fall 2021

One East Harlem’s residential amenities will include a business center, outdoor lounge area, a fitness center, and below-ground parking. Additionally, the project is expected to create nearly 300 construction jobs and over 140 permanent jobs. Food Bazaar is expected to take occupancy in late 2021, with a targeted opening in the Fall of 2021. Below image taken on October 28, 2019.

201 East 125th Street facing the new Salvation Army building. The new Proton Center on 126th Street can be just barely seen on the right side of the picture,, behind the construction. Image taken October 28, 2019.

The project stalled for many reasons, including the issues related to the city proceeding with eminent domain to take land between 125th and 127th Streets and Second and Third Avenues.  The issue of Eminent Domain was recently address in a New York Daily News article, interviewing two owners of businesses hurt or closed by this decision ~ Damon Bae, the owner of Fancy Cleaners and Evan Blum, the owner of one of my favorite shops, Demolition Depot.  And in a subsequent article on January 12, 2018. As of May, 2019, Demolition Depot has relocated to a five-story building located at 159-161 East 126th Street, directly across from the entrance to the new Bjarke Ingels luxury rental building.

cleaners taken by eminent domain photo 2-4-18, south east corner of 126th Street & Third Avenue

Included in this project will be The 126th Street African Burial Ground Memorial (and mixed-use project) honoring the site’s history. We recently learned that due to the pandemic and subsequent city budget deficit, the African Burial Ground project is now on pause. The full-block burial ground site dates back to the founding of the village of Harlem by the Dutch, whose Low Dutch Reformed Church of Harlem maintained separate cemeteries for people of European and African descent.

The 19-story, mixed-use building from the Richman Group was also in the number six spot on The Real Deal’s list of the 10 biggest real estate projects planned for New York City throughout all of 2017. The property is designed by S9 Architecture. The complex will be part of a larger six-acre NYC EDC project that will run from 125th to 127th Streets and from Third to Second Avenues. It will include the Proton Center, operated by Memorial Sloan Kettering, Montefiore Health System and Mount Sinai.

As a side note, the beloved Crack is Wack mural by Keith Haring, which was recently restored, is located right around the corner on a handball court at 128th Street and Second Avenue.

Keith Haring’s Crack is Wack mural on a handball court located at East 128th Street and the Harlem River Drive.

And the empty lot across the street, between 126th-127th Streets and Second Avenue…..

City-owned lot on Second Avenue between 126-127th Streets. Image via Google Images

On Tuesday, January 22, 2018, the city Economic Development Corporation released a request for proposals, outlining its goal to create a hub with at least 300,000 square-feet of customizable wet lab, and other work space, for the signature initiative, LifeSci NYC, a 10 year, $500 million plan announced in 2016 for city-owned sites in Kips Bay, Long Island City, and the East Harlem site on Second Avenue at 126-127th Streets.  According to Patch East Harlem, the large city-owned lot on Second Avenue between 126-127th Streets could become an “Applied Life Sciences Hub.”  The Economic Development Corporation is seeking private and philanthropic funding for the facility, in addition to the $100 million commitment by the city.  LifeSci NYC could create as many as 16,000 new jobs. Stay tuned at NYCEDC.

New York Proton Center

The New York Proton Center (NYPC) opened on June 6, 2019, located at 201-225 East 126th Street. The 140,000 square-foot facility, which cost $300 million to build, will begin patient consultations in late June, 2019. The radiation therapy will use protons, precisely targeting the solid tumors in sensitive areas that traditionally were difficult to treat. The Proton Center is the result of a partnership between Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Montefiore Health System, and Mount Sinai Health System.

Proposed Sanitation Depot on East 127th Street: At the location 207 East 127th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY), along with the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), proposes to acquire approximately 119,000+ square feet of space at this location, which is approximately 48,000+ square feet, to house the Manhattan District 11 Garage (M11). This proposal would relocate M11 from its current City-owned facility on East 99th Street.  In other words, the proposal would relocate garbage trucks from 99th Street to the 127th street location, next to the proposed African Burial Site Memorial, next to the proposed Proton Beam Cancer Treatment Hospital, next to a school (nursery-12), next to public school 138, and next to the River Side Park Field, which is home to the Harlem Jets. The community continues in its efforts to alter this plan ~ and points out the stark difference between the garbage facility built on Spring Street in SoHo vs the proposed garbage facility planned for this East Harlem location.

A Google Map shot of 212 East 125th Street, on the corner of Third Avenue

The Above Google Map image of 212 East 125th Street (corner of Third Avenue) was purchased by Hakimian Organization and Certes Partners from Second Phoenix Holding for $10 million in November, 2018. The Hakimian Family owns substantial commercial and residential properties throughout New York. They have filed for a full demolition permit for the four-story building. The permit indicates that they will build a 12-story mixed-use building, expected to rise 125-feet tall and yielding 60,552 square feet, with 51, 798 square feet designated for residential space and 2,671 square feet for commercial space. The building is expected to have 45 residences, most likely condos, with an average unit 1,151 square feet. ND Architecture & Design is listed as the architect of record.

Looking east from Metro North, with a view of Pathmark on the right (south side) of 125th Street

The now-shuttered Pathmark supermarket lot, located at 160 East 125th Street, was purchased by Extell for $39 million from Abyssinian Development Corporation, along with the neighboring post office for $10 million in 2014.

Here is a shot taken on October 18, 2018 from Third Avenue at 125th Street, with the vacant property ‘Pathmamrk’ on the left, the almost finished Salvation Army on the right, and in the middle, the rising Bjarke Angeles ‘Gotham East’ reaching over the DMV building from 126th Street.

Extell Development announced the appointment of Cushman & Wakefield to market the Class A office building located with the address, 180 East 125th Street (the Pathmark site). The new nine story, 441,600 square-foot office building will be designed by architecture firm Gensler, HHQ.

Extell Development Co. rendering for 180 East 125th Street in East Harlem

Permits were filed in 2016 for demolition and in April, 2018 we learned from therealdeal.com that, “Gary Barnett’s Extell Development was in active negotiation for a $500 million loan, backed by three Manhattan developments and shares in Central Park Tower, according to documents filed with the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.  Roughly $375 million of the funds will go toward refinancing the three projects, all of which are in the early stages of development, the documents state.  The projects include the Pathmark site in East Harlem, which Barnett assembled for $70 million in 2014. He took out a $65 million mortgage on the property at 160 East 125th Street.

The rendering posted by Yimby in May 2020, reveals a stacked floor plate design with landscaped spaces on both the rooftop and a sixth-level setback. The ground-floor retail has a concrete facade, followed by a grid of large industrial-style windows and red brick on the second through fifth floors, and a glass and steel envelope that wraps around the top four floors.

The proposed 120-foot-tall development will yield 418,780 square feet, with 313,499 square feet designated for commercial space and 40,851 square feet for community facility space. The building will have 56,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor. Office space and a community facility will occupy the floors above. The concrete-based structure will also have a cellar but no accessory parking. William Rice of Gensler is listed as the architect of record. Anticipated completion is 2023.

New Salvation Army on the corner of 126th Street and Second Avenue, with the Bjarke Ingels building next door – as of June 7, 2019

Another view of the new Salvation Army building (below) with the abandoned Pathmark property in the background. Image taken from Third Avenue at 127th Street.

August 12 2019 ~ Salvation Army Building

The building of the property, Salvation Army, below.

New Salvation Army building on the corner of 125th/126th Streets and Third Avenue, next to the Bjarke Ingels building on 126th Street (2-4-18)
East Harlem
Construction of Salvation Army building on the corner of Third Avenue and 126th Street. April 26, 2018

The image above is a rendering of the Salvation Army project, which is currently under construction at 175 East 125th Street, adjacent to the Bjarke Ingels project. The new ten-story Salvation Army building will be an affordable senior residence and include a community center and church on the first two levels, offices and fitness rooms, cafe’, library and meeting rooms for residents on the third floor. Apartments will start on the fourth floor. Residents will have access to a basement-level basketball court and laundry room, and a rooftop dining hall.

Gotham East, image taken on 126th Street on May 31 2019 ~ Directly across the street, on 126th Street, is the new location for Demolition Depot ~ forced to leave its long-time home on 125th Street.

Image above taken on May 31, 2019, looking east with the luxury rental building Gotham East in the forefront and Salvation Army to the left ~ both well on their way to being completed.

Bjarke Ingels ‘Gotham’ East on East 126th Street. Image via Blumenfeld Development Group

The Bjarke Ingels project, Gotham East, will have an entrance on 126th Street, with an overhang seen from 125th Street, near Third Avenue.

Rendering of the entrance to Gotham East on 126th Street. Image via Blumenfeld Development

It will offer 233 apartments in a mix of studios, one and two bedrooms, with twenty percent of the units offered under the affordable housing program. Affordable Housing Lottery was launched with 47 low-income units and twenty-three apartment set aside for middle-income.

Rendering of interior space for Gotham East. Image via Blumenfeld Development.

Above, fitness center & lounge. Below, rooftop terrace with pool at Gotham East. The project, sometimes called ‘The Smile’, will have a retail component on the ground level and underground parking. Market rate leasing will be handled by Nest Seekers.

Rendering for rooftop deck at Gotham East, rendering via Blumenfeld Development.

Amenities for residents will include a fitness center, lounge, workspace, and a rooftop terrace with a pool and landscaping. The eleven story building is scheduled for completion in 2019.

Bjarke Engels project on 125th Street, August 14, 2019


Progress on Bjarke Ingels building, East 125th Street between Lexington and Third Avenue, April 26, 2018


Bjarke Ingel – Gotham East, 158 east 126th Street (2-4-18)


Bjarke Ingels-East Harlem
Bjarke Ingels building on East 126th Street just west of Third Ave. April 26, 2018

Moving West, on the south side of the street, we come upon the historic 124 East 125th Street (below), built in 1907 by architects Bannister & Schell, Apple Bank started life as the Haarlem Savings Bank.

124 East 125th Street via Google Maps


Interior of Apple Bank~ Haarlem Savings Bank c. 1907. Image via New York Daily News

Above image of the interior of 124 East 125th Street, the Harlem Savings Bank, in the year 1907, shortly after it opened. Image via the Daily News.

Below, a photo of the same space as Apple Bank in 2017.

Interior photo of 124 East 125th Street, image taken in 2017


Staircase from the mezzanine to main level of bank. Image taken 2017.

124 East 125th Street reincarnated into an Apple Bank until 2018, when the bank moved to a location further east on the same street. The historic building was sold in December, 2017, currently empty, with plans for the building unknown.

Moving West, historic firehouse located at 120 East 125th Street (below).

Historic firehouse located at 120 East 125th Street

The abandoned firehouse, built in 1889 and closed in 2003, was given a new life by the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI)

Below, and just two doors down from CCCADI, permits were filed for a single-story commercial structure to be built in what is now a parking lot located at 110 East 125th Street.  Owned by the Durst Organization, the 24-foot tall structure will hold 4,500 square feet to be used as commercial space.

110 East 125th Street via Google Maps. The Durst Organization owns the empty lot + the property to the right in the image above.

It must be noted that the Durst organization also owns the adjacent property along Park Avenue  (1815 Park Avenue and 1801 Park Avenue) recently demolished (below).

1815 and 1801 Park Avenue ~ demolished.

Across the street (image below), on the north east corner of 125th Street, corner of Park Avenue, is the historic Lee Building. The 12-story office building located at 1825 Park Avenue was purchased in 1979 for $40,000 by Eugene Giscombe, owner of Giscombe Realty Group. It was sold in 2016 to the company Savanna for $48 million.

Lee Building, 1825 Park Avenue. Image via Savanna

1825 Park Avenue is also a current home to a Chase Bank and the well-known Zaro’s Family Bakery, moving into the space in December, 2019.

A look-back at the mural that was on the side of the building 1801 Park Avenue (below) next to the 125th Street Metro North Station.

Mural that was on the Park Avenue side of the building, 1801 Park Ave ~ now demolished
Vintage photo of New York Central and trolley at Second and Third Avenue Els via Uptown Grand Central

Above ~ a wonderful image of New York Central (now MTA Metro North) and Trolley lines at the Second and Third Avenue Els. Image via Uptown Grand Central by way of a wonderful exhibit at Second Avenue Subway Community Info Center entitled “Building the Second Avenue Subway for East Harlem.” The Center is located at 69 East 125th Street.

Planned renovation at Metro North will begin on June 24, 2019 and is expected to take approximately thirty-two months.

The Durst Organization also owns the large lot (below) on the west side of the MTA (1800 Park Avenue). .

Empty lot on Park Ave between 124/125th Streets in East Harlem, now owned by Durst Corp. View of historic Corn Exchange Building (left) and historic Lee Building to the right of Metro North tracks.

There are no permits filed for the above image of lot located at 1800 Park Avenue located on the south west corner of 125th Street and Park Avenue, next to the Metro North Station, which was originally advertised as the future home of the tallest building in East Harlem by the Continuum Company prior to the Durst purchase.

Google Maps image of properties owned by the Durst Organization, to the east and west of the MTA on Park Avenue/125th St.

The 3D Google Map above shows clearly the properties owned by the Durst Organization ~ to the left is the large empty lot, 1800 Park Avenue. Moving east on the other side of Metro North, 1805 Park Avenue and adjacent lot, 110 East 125th Street.

The Durst Organization refinanced the property in August 2018, and this money will also go toward the sites at 1800 Park Avenue, 1815 Park Avenue and 110 East 125th Street. There are no official plans for the site. However, when interviewed by New York Yimby in March, 2020, Douglas Durst indicated that after the completion of Sven in Long Island City, he would like to work on the Durst lot at 1800 Park Avenue. Stay tuned.

While we wait ~ enjoy the murals, Uptown Grand Scale, surrounding both sites.

Directly across the street, the beautifully renovated historic Corn Exchange Building, thanks to the Artimus Corporation.

Renovated historic Corn Exchange building, 125th Street and Park Ave, north west corner

The Ginjan Cafe’ opened in the historic Corn Exchange Building, 81 East 125th Street in August, 2019.


Inside the Ginjan Cafe, located on the ground floor of the historic Corn Exchange Bank Building

Above, interior of The Ginjan Cafe’, located at ground level in the historic Corn Exchange Bank Building, on the corner of 125th Street and Park Avenue.

The historic Corn Exchange Bank Building

To the west, the building below, 62-64 East 125th Street, adjacent to the empty lot, is scheduled for demolition.  Across the street is the new luxury rental building, Harlem 125, at 69 East 125th Street, with its commercial space the new home of the Second Avenue Subway Community Information Center.


62-64 East 125th Street, scheduled for demolition

62-64 East 125th Street, now you see it (above), now you don’t (below).

April 2, 2019

We have been waiting to hear where the Hip-Hop Hall of Fame will open its doors, and today we got the news that developers are proposing a 20-story, 140,000 square-foot building to be located at 51-55 East 125th Street, on the north east corner of Madison Avenue (current building below) ~ across the street from Promise Academy.  The site will include the Hall of Fame, TV studio, museum, gift shop, upscale hotel, residential apartments, retail, arcade, sports bar, restaurant and lounge. Stay tuned.

51 East 125th Street image via Google Streetview ~ site of the future Hip Hop Hall of Fame


The historic Trowel & Square Building, 26 East 125th Street

Renovation of the facade of the historic Trowel & Square building at 26 East 125th Street, above and below.

Rendering of facade renovation at 26 East 125th Street

The Trowel & Square building sit next to the popular ladies boutique, The Brownstone, followed by Serengeti Teas & Spices.

Serengeti Teas & Spices, 22 East 125th Street

Moving West, 13-15 East 125th Street (below), now a storefront church  (Holy Ghost Pentecostal Faith Church for All Nations), with unique snake ornaments on either side of the facade. The symbol is associated with Hermes, the Greek messenger god (the Romans called him Mercurius). The symbols were generally found on commercial buildings from the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Google Maps view of 13-15 East 125th Street

The above location (13-15 E. 125th Street ~ two converted row houses) became the Democratic Clubhouse from 1888 to 1906. Shortly after, it was demolished and a three-story structure was built, and it became home to the New York Edison Company, later to become Consolidated Edison Company (ConEd) until the 1920s. The building has had a variety of occupants since then.

Directly across the street sits Harlem Fresh Market.

Below, an illustration of the new National Black Theater, corner of 125th Street and Fifth Avenue.

Ron Moelis & the National Black Theater site. Image via therealdeal

Below, update on the 20-story National Black Theater Project as of January 10, 2019.

Rendering of new National Black Theater building via Placeful

The National Black Theatre, on north east corner of Fifth Avenue and 125th Street is teaming up with L + M Development Partners to redevelop the theater into a mixed-use building with 240 residential units and space for a new 30,000 square foot theater.  This will more than triple the guidable square footage on the site from about 68,000 square feet to over 240,000 square feet. The building will be torn down and prepared for redevelopment. the ground floor will have retail, a residential entrance, and the theater’s lobby.

The Metro North Station located at 125th Street and Park Avenue has been awarded, along with four other MTA Stations, funds for a much needed renovation that will include new signage, platforms, lighting and WiFi connectivity. The Harlem East Merchant Association (NHEMA) currently holds a variety of community activities at The Place, under the station.

While East 125th Street may appear to be going vertical, back on the ground there are many neighborhood shops, restaurants, and organizations   ~  keeping the integrity of this community.

While you’re there, check out 50 recently completed East Harlem painted gates as part of the #100GatesProject, many of them all along East 125th street, to Second Avenue ~ along with the mural project, Uptown GrandScale, and new public art installation in Marcus Garvey Park, visit a historic firehouse converted into a cultural center, walk through Urban Garden Center, walk over to the iconic Graffiti Wall of Fame, and take a tour of El Barrio’s historic murals. Visit Hunter East Harlem Gallery Taller Boricua, and The National Black Theater.

Just a note, Shake Shack, opened December 18, 2018 on Fifth Avenue at 125th Street, opposite The National Black Theater.

Rezoning from NYC Planning.

Where is all the Affordable Housing? Check the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) right here.

Read the Statements of Community District Needs and Community Board Budget Requests for 2018.

Don’t get lost. Buy an East Harlem Map.

On the other end of 125th Street, take a look inside the renovated Victoria Theatre on West 125th Street.

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