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!

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, affect new building along East 125th Street (Durst and Extell) ~ an Update Here.

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 is set to rise at 201 East 125th Street, the former site of an MTA bus depot. The project, which broke ground on April 25, 2019,  will deliver just over 400 housing units, 300 units of which will be affordable; 65,000 square feet of retail space including a 45,000+ square-foot Food Bazaar supermarket 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; 5,000 square feet of cultural space to be tenanted by Groove With Me, a local development organization offering free dance classes and performance opportunities for young girls. 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 2022.

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.

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.

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. We have no insight into what will change with this property. 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.

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.

Permits were filed in 2016 for demolition and in April, 2018 we learned from therealdeal.com that, “Gary Barnett’s Extell Development is 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 Barnettassembled for $70 million in 2014. He took out a $65 million mortgage on the property at 160 East 125th Street, and has yet to release plans for the nearly block-long site, between Lexington and Third avenues.”

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, 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. 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. 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


photo taken 2-4-18  East 125th Street between Lexington and Third Ave


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 purchased in 2016 by the company Savanna for $48 million.

Lee Building, 1825 Park Avenue. Image via Savanna

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.

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

Cafe’ coming soon to the historic Corn Exchange Building, 81 East 125th Street ~ notice on the front door ~ anticipated opening, August 18, 2019.


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

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.

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 ~ 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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