The Demolition of What Was ‘The Lenox Lounge’ Reborn as a New Four-Story Building ~ 286 Lenox Avenue in Harlem




Image of Lenox Lounge taken in 2012

Renderin via Avison Young

The rendering above, via Alison Young, displays new anchor tenant for 286 Lenox Avenue, Harlem. Signage below ~ Wells Fargo on the ground level; Child Mind Institute on the second floor,, and Visiting Nurse Service on the third and fourth floors. The fully occupied building sold in March, 2020 for $10.2 million.

Wells Fargo ~ coming soon. April 21, 2019
Scaffolding down showing new facade, March 13, 2019

Real Estate Weekly announced that the new building located at 286 Lenox Avenue is fully occupied, with Wells Fargo Bank on the ground floor and cellar, Child Mind Institute on the second floor, and Visiting Nurses on the third and fourth floors. All tenants have signed 10-year leases. However ~ the entire property is for sale for a $14.5 million asking price.

Facade now on view, January 14, 2019

The historic Lenox Lounge, located at 288 Lenox Avenue, between 124/125th Streets, was actually founded in 1942 by Dominic Greco. The bar was purchased by Alvin Reid, Sr. in 1988, and with the help of low-interest government loans, it underwent a restoration between 1999 and 2000.

Rent began for Reid at $3,000 per month and remained there until 1996, when it was increased to $9,925.00 per month.  But the historic bar never picked up the buzz and the traction that it had in the 1940’s, and with rent about to increase to $20,000 per month, it became impossible to sign a new lease.  The 2,500 square-foot, or 29-foot by 6-foot historic bar was stripped of its art deco interior, including banquettes, etched mirrors, and the Zebra Room, as well as exterior historic facade panels, by Reid on the last day of December, 2012.  The historic interior of the Lenox Lounge carried piece by piece, out the front doors (which were also taken) filling two trucks ~ and signaling the end of the Lenox Lounge.  The Lenox Lounge was never Landmarked.

January 1, 2013

The gutted space that once was the Lenox Lounge sat empty until demolition in May, 2017.  Signage went up on the fence in front of the empty lot in August, 2017, with a rendering of a four-story building that will be going up.  Timeline of the demolition in images, below.

Original tile floor inside Lenox Lounge before the demolition
The gutted Lenox Lounge, 2013
Gutted space that once was the Lenox Lounge
rendering on fence 8-30-17

Rendering on the fence August 30, 2017 of what is to become of the now, empty lot, that once housed the historic Lenox Lounge.  Below, the demolition, which began on May 5, 2017.

May 3, 2017, First day of demolition
May 4, 2017
May 11, 2017
May 12, 2017
May 12, 2017
May 12, 2017
May 12, 2017
May 15, 2017
May 15, 2017
May 15, 2017
May 15, 2017

The lot was completely leveled by the end of 2017. New construction began at the beginning of the new year. Steel beams rising…..

Construction on the old Lenox Lounge lot, Harlem. Photo taken February 12, 2018 ~ 288 Lenox Avenue
New building going up on the old Lenox Lounge lot. Photo taken February 12, 2018
Image as of February 20, 2018
As of October 19, 2018

Applications have been filed for the empty lot at 286 Lenox Avenue, to build a 4-story, 19,000 square-foot commercial building, between 124th and 125th Street, across the street from the new Whole Foods.  The new building is designed by Gambino + LaPorta Architecture and it appears that the French cosmetic company, Sephora will occupy the street level space.

The shiny new facade is now on view (below).

Image taken January 14, 2019
Gone, but not forgotten. The historic Lenox Lounge.

In the end, Wells Fargo Bank took that commercial space. The historic Lenox Lounge is gone, but far from forgotten.