HARLEM, NY — A lot on a West Harlem public housing campus has been sold to a private developer planning to build a residential tower, months after reports of the potential sale sparked concern among tenants.
The New York City Housing Authority sold seven lots in the Manhattanville Houses complex to developer Grid Group on Oct. 13, according to documents posted online Oct. 25.
The $6 million land sale, plus $22 million in air rights, will allow Grid to build a 26-story tower on the now vacant lot at 1440 Amsterdam Ave., near West 131st Street to build with 393 apartments and a supermarket.
NYCHA will use that $28 million to perform “major building repairs and upgrades” at the six-building, 3,000-resident Manhattanville complex, the agency says. The sale comes after NYCHA accepted the Manhattanville Houses into its PACT program, in which the agency recruits private developers to modernize its deteriorating housing stock.
Construction on the new building will begin within months and is slated to open in the summer of 2026, NYCHA spokeswoman Rochel Leah Goldblatt told Patch. Renovations at the Manhattanville Houses will begin in 2024, Goldblatt said.
Patch first reported on the development plans last fall when Grid submitted plans for the new tower — though NYCHA warned at the time that the sale wasn’t final.
The proposed tower raised concerns from some tenants and Community Board 9 members, who said they had received little input and feared the building would block sunlight from reaching their homes.
U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat later urged NYCHA to halt PACT conversion in Manhattanville, while City Councilman Shaun Abreu and Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine both urged the agency to give tenant leaders more input on the new tower.
“When NYCHA came up with making changes to the building, it didn’t seem like an option,” a 50-year-old Manhattanville tenant named Laura said during a February meeting hosted by Community Board 9. “You made it look like that’s what’s happening and that you either roll with it or get out.
It was unclear if anything had changed since those claims were made earlier this year. But Goldblatt said NYCHA had done “extensive public relations work” at Manhattanville Houses about PACT and the new tower, including frequent meetings with tenant leaders.
“Residents have formed a Resident Proposal Review Committee to meet with potential development partners and review project proposals,” Goldblatt said. “NYCHA will work with the community leaders and community review committee to advance the next steps for the project.”
The new building is nearly 300 feet tall and will contain about 120 rent-limited apartments for households making up to 130 percent of the region’s median income — or about $121,000 for a single person. Current NYCHA tenants are preferred for 25 percent of those units, the agency says.
A new Associated supermarket will occupy the ground floor, replacing a previous Associated location that stood on the same site until it burned down in 2013, along with an additional 1,600 new retail spaces.
A new common room for Manhattanville Houses tenants will also span 1,000 square feet of the new building, as well as 28 covered parking spaces for NYCHA tenants, the agency says.
The completed sale was first reported by Crain’s. The official developer is Grid – whose other projects include luxury towers in Central Park North and Chelsea – although the sales documents also name Queens-based Lefkas Realty as a buyer.
Lefkas was linked to an earlier plan to build on the Amsterdam Avenue site: a seven-story condominium building that was due to be built by 2020 but never materialized.
Overall, the Manhattanville Houses will need about $223 million in repairs, including $100 million to upgrade home amenities like kitchens and bathrooms, $49 million to build windows, roofs, stairs and ramps, and more funds for Common spaces, utility systems, and outdoor facilities and playgrounds, says NYCHA.
So-called “infill” projects have set back other NYCHA developments. In 2019, the agency dropped plans to build a 50-story private tower in a playground at Holmes Towers on the Upper East Side — which NYCHA said would fetch $25 million in repairs, but which residents have rejected because of its Size and lack of public participation has been criticized.
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