Thursday, August 12, 2010

☞ REVIVE: Update on Saving P.S. 186

Harlem Bespoke has written quite a few posts on the efforts to save P.S. 186 on 145th Street and the press has recently published a couple of articles that bring out a few more facts. Readers might recognize the monumental 1903 school building on 145th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam) that was designed by renowned Superintendent of Buildings C.B.J. Snyder. The city closed it down in 70's and what is now the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem signed a deed to restore the property and develop it for 85% non-profit use. That was almost twenty five years ago and now the owners want to demolish it completely for a new, 13-story high rise, majority rental building.

The controversy started many years ago when the organization continued to do nothing with the building for decades. As last week's Times article points out, the city did not chase the club for back taxes from not using the building for non-profit purposes all these years because “contemplated use”of the building placed it in a category that was tax-exempt. Also pointed out in the New York Times is that the community is divided by whether to restore the building or to demolish it completely-nothing in between: LINK. Even though the CB9 Landmarks Committee advised that the building received landmark designation last year, the CB9 Executive Board vetoed the vote for no apparent reason. There is a brand new board voted in as of this past June so the preservationist will once more try to have landmarking up for review.

The Times article failed to point out that there exists several other proposals that would restore the current building and add condos to subsidize the development (one of the sketches can be found in our past post): LINK. The Boys and Girls Club have stated that condos are not selling when PS90 (the restored school condo conversion on 148th) was brought up in past meetings as an adaptive reuse option, but that apparently is no longer a viable argument. Now the point of debate against restoring the school is that it is not financially feasible. Revealed now in the current articles on the proposed new construction is that the project will cost $79 million, which compared to PS90's restoration budget of $40 million, is basically double the cost: LINK

A concise City Limits article from June points out the 25 year, non-profit use deed restriction expiration date on P.S. 186 will be up in January 2011 and that the Boys and Girls Club will have the option to do whatever they want with the property alongside the highest bidder at that point in time: LINK. Read our past post on the fight to save P.S. 186: LINK. Photo by Ulysses


  1. Perhaps thats just what the Boys and Girls club wants, to sell the building to the highest bidder and take the money & run. Its unfortunate. This eye-sore has been like a boil on the butt of a dear friend (to paraphrase Prince Charles) for far too long.

    But once again, legal & political entanglements have been allowed to get in the way. Rather than ask the community, CB9's executive board makes decisions for them. This probably means that the executive board feels that the overall community is too unsophisticated to make a decision.

  2. If the other P.S. can make a go of it as condos, in a MUCH worse neighborhood, then there's no reason this one shouldn't. 145th is a busy street, though, so quite a bit of noise.

  3. My neighbours’ church is mixed up in this as well, to their chagrin. My neighbours, not the church. Evidently there really is no Boys and Girls Club involved here (surprise), just a big ole Harlem boondoggle, classic in its greed and inefficiency.

  4. Ridiculous. Sell to the highest bidder with stipulation to restore facade of this grand building.

    Harlem has way too much unused community space and guess what? It ain't helping on decreasing gun violence. So Sell, sell, sell for luxury condos - BUT they should make it a condition for the developer to keep the original building in the design.

  5. This old School building looks like the school I went to back in the 60's. It was PS 184 and located on 116th Street through 117th Street between 5th and Lenox Aves. I wonder if there are any more buildings using the same design still standing. Old PS 184 is now just a lot and has been that way for some time.