New Construction Housing The National Urban League Headquarters + Civil Rights Museum Space + Trader Joe’s, Pandora, Sephora and Target at 121 West 125th






The much anticipated mixed-use development located at 121 West 125th Street that will be home to the new headquarters of the National Urban League is now leasing.

In addition to the National Urban League, the building will be used by several non-profit’s including 100 Black Men. It will also house a Trader Joe’s and a Target retail shop, Sephora and Pandora. To answer everyone’s big question, no set date has been set for the opening of Trader Joe’s. However Target may not open until January 2024. Trader Joe’s indicated it would open within the next few months – so that also may be a New Year opening. More to follow.

The American LGBTQ+ Museum will be located within a 4,000 square foot gallery space and occupy a full floor. Exciting programming to include rotating exhibitions and a ‘virtual museum’ in addition to its permanent exhibitions.

“This project is going to revitalize Harlem. It is smart, it is right, it is mixed use. It brings a museum, it brings affordable housing, it brings retail. It brings commercial space. In and of itself, it is going to revitalize Harlem,” Cuomo said Thursday.

Illustration via

The $242 million,  17-story, mixed-use building will be home to not only the National Urban League, but also house New York’s first civil rights museum. The 425,000 square-foot building will also include 171 mixed-income units, with an entrance on 126th Street, and 90,000 square feet of retail space in addition to the 70,000 square-feet for offices, with entrances on 125th Street. Two non-profits will occupy space in the new building ~ Jazzmobile and 100 Black Men. The National Urban League will be signing a 99-year lease for the State-owned land.

In addition, Target announced that they signed a lease for a 44,000 square-foot space as part of the new 17-story project. The new, smaller space will be tailored to serve the surrounding population.

Trader Joe’s will occupy 28,000 square-feet of ground floor space, with an anticipated completion date in 2023.

In addition, Sephora and Pandora will be leasing space. Stay tuned.

The Civil Rights Museum will be the first in New York State, and will be designed to tell the story of civil rights advocacy in the North.

Image via Urban League

Comments from a few of the speakers at the press conference on Thursday, July 18, 2019.

“Equitable economic development means investing in every neighborhood and in organizations like the National Urban League that work every day to uplift others,” Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said.“We are proud to support this project that will keep NUL in New York and continue Harlem’s renaissance.”

RuthAnne Visnauskas, Commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal said: “The National Urban League holds an important place in our history, breaking down barriers and fighting for economic and social justice across the country. HCR is proud to see the organization’s headquarters return to its original home in Harlem, bringing with it quality affordable housing for more than 170 New Yorkers. This will move Governor Cuomo’s $20 billion Housing Plan forward and contribute to Harlem’s rebirth.”

View from Lenox Avenue, along 125th Street, looking west with State Office Building in the background. Image via Google Maps

“Harlem is where our work began more than a century ago and is very much our spiritual home,” National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial said. “We are grateful to Governor Cuomo and the local elected officials who helped to make this possible. We are elated to be joining the vibrant Harlem community and moving into the next phase of our ever-expanding mission of advocacy and service.”

West 125th Street looking east toward Lenox Avenue. Image via Google Maps

“Bringing the National Urban League’s headquarters back to Harlem while maximizing the move to bring a host of amenities and a museum online will embed critical resources in the community,” said NYCEDC President James Patchett. “The epicenter of the Harlem Renaissance, this iconic New York City neighborhood has helped to define black culture in America and is most fitting to be the home of New York’s first civil rights museum.”

October 23, 2021

On Thursday, July 18, 2019, Empire State Development’s Board of Directors voted to approve a modified General Project Plan for the development and two grants from the New York City Regional Economic Development Council and the Restore New York Communities Initiative totaling $4.5 million for the project. New York State Homes and Community Renewal is also expected to provide financing to support the creation of affordable housing.

On July 15, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed into law, authorizing the State General Services Commissioner to transfer state-owned lands and property in New York City to Empire State Development for an amount less than fair market value to allow this property to be used for the National Urban League Headquarters (New York, NY) and Conference Centerand the Urban Civil Rights Experience Museum. The $270 million project also will increase the city’s affordable housing stock by approximately 170 units, supporting the Governor’s $20 billion plan to combat homelessness and create affordable housing for New Yorkers. Additionally, the land transfer will allow for below-market and rent-free space for local non-for-profits, including One Hundred Black Men, Inc. and Jazzmobile, Inc. The bill takes effect immediately.

The state’s development corporation is planning to break ground on a 17-story mixed-use building to house New York’s first civil rights museum and the National Urban League’s new headquarters near the Adam Clayton Powell office building on 125th St., and will include at least 170 units of affordable housing, as well as office space and an Urban League conference center.

To make this project a reality, the National Urban League is partnering with BRP Companies, Taconic Investment Partners, L+M Development Partners, Dabar Development Partners and The Prusik Group, as well as 100 Black Men and Jazzmobile. Designed by Beyer Blinder Belle and developed by BRP Companies, 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.

Rendering of 121 West 125th Street – Beyer Blinder Belle via New York Yimby. Target and Trader Joe’s will occupy the new building.

“Harlem has a rich history and culture that should be celebrated, protected and enhanced for future generations,” Governor Cuomo said. “By signing this measure into law, we will help preserve Harlem’s history, create more affordable housing and provide a home for not-for-profit and civic organizations like the National Urban League and 100 Black Men which do important work every day for communities of color across New York.”

The initial two-story site was home to a number of wonderful small shops, almost all relocated, and a second floor parking garage. Groundbreaking began in March, 2021.

Take a look at progress on the Victoria Theatre expansion project, just down the block.

Take a look at 125th Street in East Harlem ~ a work in progress. And down the street, another large project in the works, The Victoria Theatre’s Tower Residences, Marriott Hoel & The Apollo Theater Expansion!