October 26, 2016
By Neal Tepel
New York, NY – The restoration of P.S. 186 in Manhattan, now provides a 79-apartment mixed-use affordable housing project that is also home to a more than 11,000-square-foot state-of-the-art clubhouse for the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem (BGCH). The homes will be affordable to individuals earning as little as $24,000, and families with incomes of $31,000 a year.
“This is truly a wonderful day for the Harlem community. Bringing families and kids back to this beautiful and historic school building is an amazing example of the work we are doing to re-energizing local communities, build affordable homes, and keep our children in safe and exceptional learning environments. I congratulate the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem, the families living in this building and everyone who brought us to this moment,” said Mayor de Blasio.
The refurbished school building is a part of the City’s plan to increase affordable housing. According to city officials 53,000 affordable homes have been created since 2014. The five-story, Italian Renaissance-style, H-shaped school building opened in 1903, and served as an elementary school for 72 years. Several well-known New Yorkers attended P.S. 186, among them Harry Belafonte, Arthur Mitchell, the founder and artistic director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem. But, by mid-1970s, the school building had fallen into severe disrepair and was deemed unsafe. In 1975, the school moved and the building sat vacant.
“This elegant restoration and adaptive use of P.S. 186 is truly worth celebrating. The project offers affordable homes to low-income families earning a range of incomes, and serves as a new and bigger space for the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem. It’s a wonderful asset for the community. I thank all the development partners who made this restoration possible, and welcome the new residents to their homes,” said HPD Commissioner Vicki Been.
Since 1903, P.S. 186 has been a critical part of the Harlem community. Thousands of children passed through its doors. The school now providing affordable housing and the home of the Boys & Girls Club of Harlem, will begin a new chapter of community service. The facility will be equipped with the latest technology. Programs that support academic success, healthy living, and good character for thousands of local children will be provided.
Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said, “When disrepair is transformed, when we take an unused property and give it new life, communities win. I’m so pleased to have worked on this project over the past several years. With affordable housing and a new Boys and Girls Club, this project proves that a single building can make a difference in many lives. It’s taken many years to get to this point – and we couldn’t be prouder to celebrate its success.”