Thursday, March 31, 2011

☞ DWELL: Catching Up with The Lore

UPDATE: 29 UNITS ARE RECORDED AS SOLD. The last time we checked out the status of The Lore condos at 261 West 112th Street in September 2010, 14 of the reported 35 units finally closed after the building stood vacant for most of 2009.  This South Harlem development just right by the lower FDB corridor had some financial issues in the past but now it looks like most of the units except one has sold out or are currently in contract according to Streeteasy: LINK. Overall 29 units are listed as sold and 4 are in contract (there are double listing marked as sold on the Streeteasy chart so it looks like more). Recent sales per square foot appear to be in the upper $500 range to even the low $700's. Most units are well below the $1 million mark but there appears to have been one penthouse taken off the market for the asking of $1.4 million.

☞ REVIVE: 250 Manhattan Avenue

There is a building close to the corner lot by 110th Street and Manhattan Avenue that looks to be making some progress on the renovations of the past year.  The top photo shows the building located on 250 Manhattan Avenue last July when a sidewalk shed was set up and the property was being gutted.  At the following photo, one can see that the old cornice was ripped off the top part of the building which did not bode well for a complete restoration of the roof.  As of the past couple of weeks, we noticed that a brand new, slightly abbreviated cornice did appear on the site and the next photo down shows the newly restored facade.  The last image was taken a couple of months back and a penthouse addition can be seen at the rooftop. It is still unclear if this property will go rental, condo or co-op but it is good to see some of these old buildings facing Morningside Park getting repaired finally.

☞ DRINK: Where the Hour is Happy

New York magazine just had a new article up on an app that zeroes in on Happy Hours at local bars in Manhattan but Harlem will not be included: LINK.  Here's our list of notable nights in Harlem for those drink specials.  Any other suggestions?

Lenox Lounge: Mondays-Fridays, 5:00 PM-7:00 PM: LINK
Settepani: Mondays-Thursday, after 5:00 PM at the Bar: LINK
Native: Monday-Fridays, 4:00 PM-8:00 PM: LINK
WXYZ: Tuesday "Ladies" Night drink special starting 6:00 PM: LINK
67 Orange Street: Teachers Happy Hour, Weds, 4:00 PM-6:00 PM: LINK
Lexington Social:  East Harlem, Tues-Fri, 4:00 PM-8:00 PM: LINK

☞ READ: The WSJ Brownstone Reno Finishes

It has been a little over a year now and the Wall Street Journal's feature on one editor's South Harlem brownstone renovation is now complete.  The gut renovation for the townhouse bought for $800K was expected to take 10 months but ended up at 13 months, cost estimated started at $350,000 and ended up at $420,000.  Time wise, things stretched out because of permit issues and passing the proper city inspections but the cost factor increase had to do with upgrades like an added deck in the back of the yard. At the end, there's a clean palette on the interior but some of the original details such as the stairwell has been restored.  See the full recap of the past year and more photos on the Wall Street Journal: LINK.  Photos courtesy Rayon Richards

☞ INTRODUCING: More Harlem Yoga Arrives

Laura Land has been posting on the Facebook sites of local blogs announcing the arrival of her namesake yoga studio in Harlem.  Land Yoga will be arriving at The Douglass on FDB/8th Avenue and 113th Street sometimes in the near future (top photo) and even a portrait of the founder in India appears on the new studio's facebook account: LINK.  Land Yoga will now represent South Harlem but will not be the first studio located uptown.  There are two established Bikram Yoga outposts which individually represent East Harlem (second photo) and West Harlem (last photo). The Harlem Yoga Studio used to be located in the Mount Morris Park area but has since relocated to Central Harlem in the past months.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

☞ DWELL: 241 West 132nd Street in Contract

It took about a year for the Central Harlem townhouse at 241 West 132nd Street to make any movement but the 3-family home finally went into contract last month.  At 16 foot wide, the townhouse is on the narrow side but the building is apparently fully rented out with market rate tenants.  Reportedly the owner's duplex will be available some times in 2011 so the timing looks right on this one. Pricing originally was set at $1.55 million but that asking eventually reduced down to $1.42 million by Summer 2010.  As the interior photos shows, the infrastructure has been recently upgraded but there's not too much detail inside.  Better amenities are sparse on the FDB/8th and ACP/7th Avenue sides surrounding this block but subways are less than a 10 minute walk in either direction.

☞ INTRODUCING: The Dempsey Application

The new construction for affordable housing in Central Harlem has the paperwork up now for those who are interested.  A substantial, old lot at 128 West 128th Street has seen the Dempsey development rise up in the past year and the application along with income requirements are now listed in the following PDF: LINK.  Everything has to be sent in by May 2nd so there's some time left to sign up for the lottery.

☞ SEE: The Presidential Motorcade in Harlem

A Harlem Bespoke reader just sent in some great photos of the Presidential Motorcade from last night's visit to Harlem.  Most folks were lined up by Lenox Avenue to try and get a glimpse of President Obama as he entered the Red Rooster but it seems that south side of Marcus Garvey Park was a better vantage point since the crowds were not as thick.  Click on photos to enlarge. The New York Times recapped the event in this morning's edition: LINK.  Got a tip?  Send it to:

☞ READ: New Supermarket for East Harlem

According to Crain's, a new supermarket will be arriving soon on 110th Street between Lexington and Third Avenue.  Apparently the single-story, 16,000 square foot building at No. 156-160 East 110th Street was sold off to Associated Supermarkets for $6.5 million because of a bankruptcy situation. There's a potential of building three more stories on top of the first level (for a total of 60,000 square foot) and the time line for the new supermarket is expected to be around six months. The 110th Lexington station is at this corner so the new businesses will be banking on the strategic location. Food Choice was housed in this building in recent years but it looks like something a bit fancier will be arriving in 2011.  Read more in Crain's: LINK

☞ LISTEN: Esnavi at Shrine

Wednesday, March 30th, 9:00 PM, Esnavi at Shrine, 2271 ACP/7th Avenue and 134th Street.  Since the worldwide release of her album, EXIT E, last year, this certified International Top 40 recording artist has become a force to reckon with on the independent music scene. Experience Esnavi at Shrine tonight along with other performers which are listed on the Harlem music venue's website: LINK

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

☞ REMEMBER: The Harlem Presidential Visit 2011

We were checking out the scene early in the afternoon for the presidential visit and then eventually wandered back over around 5:40 PM to get a glimpse of the action.  Earlier on in the day nothing much was happening except that the barricades were up and a few curious onlookers tried to get a peek inside of the Red Rooster (top photo).  The evening time was a different matter and crowds had gathered at all four corners of Lenox and 125th Street.  Each of the lower photos show folks trying to get a glimpse on the 127th Street side of Lenox but large trucks blocked off most of the view.  Sylvia's was pretty much all that was visible at this vantage point and President Obama arrived apparently around 6:12 PM so we called it a night.

☞ DWELL: 107 West 120th Street Brownstone

UPDATE: THIS IS A CONDO UNIT OFFERING TO COMBINE THE TOP HALF OF THE BUILDING.  The fixed up 20 foot wide property at 107 West 120th Street went up on the market in the past month that might seem like a pretty good deal for the $1.3 million but it turns out to be just only half of the building. The block right by the historic district is definitely charming enough and the 3,759 square foot townhouse has all the infrastructure upgrades in place BUT the price is only for half the house. With that said, a DOB permit is already in place (and approved) to combine the chopped up units on the third floor if that is what a potential buyer is looking for.

☞ EAT: Bad Horse Pizza Opening April 1st

Just sent to our inbox is a sign up at Bad Horse Pizza on FDB/8th Avenue and 120th Street that has announced the restaurant's much awaited opening date.  This Friday, April 1st at 5:00 PM is the debut night of the eatery that apparently has their liquor license in place.  As noted, free beer or wine will be offered to guests who somehow show some sort of "feats of strength" or prove themselves worthy in some other fashion.  This bunch sounds like a cheeky crew with the name of the establishment and general attitude! Click on images to enlarge. Check out the menu here:

☞ READ: Obama at the Studio Museum in Harlem

Today's news also has it that President Obama will drop by the Studio Museum on 125th Street after the high profile Red Rooster fund-raiser on Lenox.  About 250 political and community leaders have been invited to the free event which is a contrast to the $30,800 per plate dinner at the new restaurant of celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson. Traffic has been blocked off until 10:00 PM for the surrounding area so the presidential entourage should be swinging by the Harlem institution towards the latter half of the evening tonight. More details in the New York Post: LINK

☞ ARCHITECTURE: The 1635 Lexington Facade

Since starting up last summer, the new residential construction at 1635 Lexington Avenue has been making some major progress and now the facade work has finally begun.  Scaffolding went up recently at this location just north of the 103rd Street Lexington stop in East Harlem and this is usually the time when the base of the building gets the brickwork done.  The ambitious development was originally called the Glass Spire which appears to have a lot of metal and brick elements also in the design.  In another month or so, the glass part will probably go up but there still doesn't seem to be any update on the marketing of this 42-unit development which reportedly is going condo: LINK

☞ REVIVE: The Cecil Hotel & Minton's

The Cecil Hotel which has Minton's Playhouse on the lower floor appears to wrapping up a long renovation that's been happening for about the past two years.  Scaffolding has finally been removed at number 206-210 West 118th Street which sits on the corner of St. Nicholas Avenue and is one of the miniature Flatiron Buildings of the area.  Apparently the Cecil was an actual hotel at some point but DOB permits show that units will now be moving over to the residential category with this latest remodel.  There's a great corner storefront at the lower floor that has been vacant for some time but Minton's is just around the corner.  The famous jazz playhouse has been closed in recent months but look out for some sort opening in the springtime since that venue is slated for the first Harlem Jazz Shrine Festival coming this May: LINK

☞ INTRODUCING: New 116th Building Finish Date

The new residential construction on the lot that was sold off last year at West 116th now has an official finish date.  Construction started up last week at 306-308 West 116th Street (just west of FDB/8th Avenue) but official signs for the project had not been seen on the site.  More recently, those signs have appeared on the plywood out front and a bit of information has been revealed.  Most importantly, the finish date is set for Spring 2013 which seems like a substantial amount of time for a 14-unit building.  A finished name for the project apparently has not been chosen quite yet but a title referencing Morningside seems to be forthcoming.  Click on top image to enlarge.  Check out a possible rendering of this building in our past post: LINK

Monday, March 28, 2011

☞ DWELL: 124 West 123rd Sold Again in March

The 4-family townhouse shell with a mansard roof at 124 West 123rd Street apparently sold again at the beginning of March.  Based on public records, a law office had sold the vacant building west of Lenox Avenue back in January for the sum of $309K to an equities firm on Long Island.  Based on two questionable sales back in the same month of 2007, this property (house at far left) might have had to go through some legal channels to get the correct line of ownership in order. The most current sale of the 17 foot wide house from the equities company at $535.73k looks to be the real deal and maybe this rare wood frame townhouse just past the Mount Morris Park Historic District will finally get the renovations it deserves.

☞ REVIVE: 16 Bids Out for Harlem Citarella Parcel

One of the many articles covering the New York City Economic Development Corporation's announcement for the redevelopment of the Corn Exchange Building has now revealed that there are 16 bids out for another project on the opposite side of 125th Street: LINK.  The NYCEDC has been trying to revive a failed former manufacturing site on 126th Street (just east of Amsterdam) that was given to Citarella to restore but when that luxury grocer did not achieve results, the city started an open call for bids last November: LINK.   At the lower photos, one can see the area around 426-458 West 126th Street which consist of the old Taystee Cake complex and what's left of a large parking garage. Community Board 9 has been trying to rezone this section of Manhattanville (one avenue over from the main Columbia project) for mixed use so expect possible residential construction showing up in the final selected bid.