125th Street Business Improvement District
Attendance: Leah Abraham, Ross Jacobs, Jonelle Procope, Mukaram Taheraly, Adam Doyno, C. Virginia Fields, Lewis Rice, Gwen Stacy, LeMel Lindsey, Nina Saxon, Ester Fuchs, Cicely Harris, Shaun Smith, Ken Miles, Gwen Stacey, Hamil Douglas, Guest: Curtis Archer, President Harlem Community Development Corporation, Evan Richardson, Studio Museum, Michael Lythcoth, National Black Theater Staff: Barbara Askins, Anthony Baker, Doslyn Moody
After establishing a quorum, the meeting opened at approximately 11:05am. The Chairman welcomed new members and asked everyone to introduce themselves and then introduced our guest: Curtis Archer, President of the Harlem Community Development Corporation.
Curtis Archer gave a presentation on two development projects in the district.
The Project began construction in the fall of 2015 with the goal of transforming the long-vacant Victoria Theatre into an approximately 385,000 SF, 27-story mixed-use development that would restore the façade and lobby of the landmark theater in accordance with SHPO guidelines and include: a full-service hotel with approximately 200 keys and entertainment space – operated by Marriot Renaissance; approximately 200 residential units – half of which are designated for low- and moderate- income families; approximately 25,000 SF of retail space; and approximately 25,000 SF of theater and arts space, which is our cultural unit, consisting of a 99- and a 199-seat theater – to be operated and managed by the Apollo Theater Foundation, which was designated by Harlem CDC’ board in 2015. Current Project Status: In August Harlem CDC’s directors authorized the extension of the developers ground lease to April 30, 2021.
The National Urban League and its partners, BRP Companies, Taconic Investment Partners, and L+M Development Partners, have secured and closed on the necessary financing to establish its permanent home on 125th Street between Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard and Lenox Avenue/Malcolm X Boulevard. The $242 million project will include: A new national headquarters for the National Urban league, The National Urban League Institute for Race, Equity and Justice, The Urban Civil Rights Experience Museum, New York’s first civil rights museum to share and illustrate the story of civil rights advocacy in the north. 170 residential units, all of which will be affordable to households earning between 30% and 80% of the Area Median Income. (Of the total units, 30% will be supportive housing units to assist vulnerable populations including youth aging out of foster care), Below-market rate office space for nonprofit groups including the 100 Black Men, the United Negro College Fund, and the Jazzmobile, Additional Class A retail and office space that will attract future tenants that will provide jobs and amenities for the neighborhood. The $242 million project is receiving funding from Empire State Development (“ESD”), New York State Housing Finance Agency (“HFA”), New York State Housing and Community Renewal (“HCR”), Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group (“UIG”), the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone (“UMEZ”), and Harlem Community Development Corporation (“HCDC”). Demolition of the existing garage is underway and construction is expected to begin early 2021. We expect the building to be completed in 2024.
While the presentation was well received by members, it was also discussed that the addition of supportive housing in that location needs further discussions as this is an area that is already over saturated with services for underserved communities and there are many problems that need to be addressed. Curtis agreed to work with the BID on this issue.
The Chairman presented meeting dates for the rest of the fiscal year and called for approval of the July 23, 2020 minutes. It was motioned by Jonelle Procope and seconded by Ross Jacobs to accepted the minutes. The motion carried unanimously. The audit committee voted yes for the BID to submit its financial audit report to SBS and the Comptroller of New York. Members were provided 12.28.20 audit committee minutes, audit report for fiscal year ending June 30, 2020 and letters from BID auditor on the financials. The Chairman asked for a motion to ratify the actions of the Audit Committee. It was motioned by Ross Jacobs and seconded by Jonelle Procope. The motion carried unanimously. The Chairman gave an update on First and Second Quarter Financials FY 2020-2021. Copies of financials provided. The Chairman praised the efforts of the staff to hold the holiday lighting program virtually with limited physical activities during the height of the pandemic.
Vote to file 990’s Barbara presented 990’s for fiscal year ending June 30, 2020 along with instructions to review them to the members and asked for a vote to file them with the IRS. It was motioned by Mukaram Taheraly and seconded by Ross Jacobs. The motion carried unanimously.
Public Safety in the District Ross Jacobs, Lewis Rice and C. Virginia Fields updated members on the work they have been engaged with regarding public safety on 125th Street. The issues discussed related to homelessness, Lenox Avenue and 125th Street, crime inside the businesses, need for police presence, and working with the service providers for underserved populations. Ross gave a special praise to Anthony Baker and his team for the work they do regarding public safety.
President’s Report • PROPOSAL: OPEN STREET VENDOR AN SMALL BUSINESS MARKET : A proposal requesting the City of New York to expand it’s open street program to allow vending activities to take place in the parking lane and remove them from the sidewalks has been submitted to the Department of Transportation. The proposal has the support of elected officials and community boards. • Covid19 Educational Awareness Campaign: A banner program is being developed to bring more awareness of the need to not let your guard down and stay safe. • Streetscape Maintenance – DOT will be doing sidewalk and Roadway Repairs within the BID Boundaries. There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.