Plan Gets Funding to Turn Abandoned Harlem School Into Boys and Girls Club

By Gustavo Solis on August 19, 2014 1:23pm 

Slideshow
 After years of consternation and a long-delayed plan to build a Boys and Girls Club and residential housing at the abandoned P.S. 186 on West 145th Street in Harlem, developers and officials from the nonprofit say there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.
P.S. 186 Boys and Girls Club
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HAMILTON HEIGHTS — P.S. 186, the abandoned school on 549 W. 145th St. known for the trees growing inside, is one step closer to becoming the new home for the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem.

Developers closed on construction financing for the project, marking the end of the predevelopment phase and the start of the construction phase, according to representatives from Alembic Community Development and Monadnock Development.

“The closing represents a critically important step in the long-awaited renewal of this wonderful but neglected building,” Alembic Principal Benjamin Warnke said. “I’m delighted to mark this milestone with our partners.”

The former school will become a 79-unit residential building that includes a 10,000-square-foot facility to house the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem. Of the 79 units, 63 will be reserved for low-income families and seven for middle-income families, said George Tsiatis, a spokesman for the developers.

Developers have not set a groundbreaking date, but they expect construction to finish in the summer of 2016, he added.

“To reach this turning point in the life of a project that has a 30-year lifespan is awesome,” said Shirley Lewis, chairwoman of the board of directors of the Boys and Girls Club. “Bringing this building back to life celebrates our visionary predecessors who purchased P.S. 186, making way for all of the benefits, comforts, and joy that this building will bring to the Harlem Community.”

The Boys and Girls Club purchased the school from the state in 1986, 11 years after the school closed, for $215,000.

The project’s construction financing came from a variety of public and private sources. Developers received $32 million in tax credit equity from Red Stone Equity Partners and Bank of New York Mellon. The same bank also approved them for a $32 million construction loan, according to a statement released Tuesday.

Additionally, the developers received a $9 million loan from the city’s department of Housing Preservation and Development and a $5 million loan from the Low Income Investment Fund.

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