Demolition Begins on the Franciscan Handmaids of Mary Motherhouse, 15 West 124th Street in Harlem




15 West 124th Street, image taken December 19, 2018. Image credit: AFineLyne

Overlooking Marcus Garvey Park, at 15 West 124th Street, stands an 18,000+ square-foot, brick building that had been the home to the Franciscan Handmaids of the Most Pure Heart of Mary ~ the nation’s oldest order of black nuns.  In 2016, the Order celebrated its 100th Anniversary and year of service with a Gala featuring His Eminence Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan (Archbishop of New York), with performances by Melba Moore and other celebrity guests, held at the New York Academy of Medicine.

The Franciscan Handmaids of the Most Pure Heart of Mary stand on the stairs at their Harlem motherhouse at 15 W. 124th St. (Provided by the Franciscan Handmaids of the Most Pure Heart of Mary / Regina Fleming)

In June of 2017, the Franciscan Handmaids announced that they would be selling their Harlem Motherhouse, in an effort to restructure. In an article by Global sisters Report, it was said that only three Sisters currently live in the West 124th Street building, leaving most of the building empty.

The Black Catholic Messenger posted the passing of Sr Anthony Marie Granger in June of 2022. She had been one of the oldest member of the Handmaids, serving her ministry for nearly 70 years. Scroll down within the Black Catholic Messenger article to read a little of the history of this order, which was founded in 1930.

15 west 124th st dec 19 2018, 15 West + 21 West 124th Street, including the school. The building with the red door is 23 West 124th Street and is currently for sale or rent.

While much of this area is within a Landmarked District, the north side of Marcus Garvey Park is not. When purchased, the structure could be expanded to 30,000 square-feet.

august 30 2019

According to Property Shark, 15 West 124th Street sold on February 11, 2019 for $9,400,000 to Harlem LLC ~ and when searching for who/what that entity might be, our Google Search referred us to The Real Deal, who referred us to a lengthy article on ‘the Rise of the Anonymous LLC’. In the article, Senator Brad Holyman states that “New York requires more information for someone applying for a library card than to set up an LLC.”

July 2019 work inside building at 15 West 124th Street, NYC

Permits were filed in December, 2020 to demolish the current four-story building, making way for a new seven-story building containing 33 apartments. With a new height of 75-feet tall, the new structure will be seventeen-feet taller than the four-story building that currently exists, per Patch Harlem.

Image taken May 25, 2022

Above and below, the building in the process of being demolished.

Image taken May 25, 2022

Harlem Llc C/o Magna & New York filed the permit through their representative Wayne Turett of Gino Longo Architect. No timeline for this construction. Stay tuned.

15 West 124th Street – completely demolished.

Meanwhile, the building next door to the West, with the red door ~ 23 West 124th Street ~ is For Sale or Rent (below).

A For Sale or For Rent banner now hangs from the window of the five-story building to the west of Mary Motherhouse.

The owners of this commercial property told GothamToGo in April, 2022 that the building is approximately 9,000 square feet, with approximately 2,300 square feet on each level + a 1,500 square foot usable cellar area. Asking price is $9.9 million (as is).

23 West 124th Street is right next door, to the west.

23 West 124th Street is a former day care school, with 24/7 camera surveillance, wheelchair accessible ramps and spaces, nine restrooms and central a/c throughout. The building is expected to be shown in June, 2022 through SLR, LLC. Interested parties may email here