Merchants Capital Provides $104 Million for NYCHA Harlem River Houses Rehabilitation Project in West Harlem, Manhattan

Merchants Capital provided $104 million in construction financing for a major rehabilitation project for Harlem River Houses and the adjacent Harlem River II campus, collectively known as Harlem River Houses I and II. The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) public housing complex is located between 151st and 153rd Streets, Macombs Place and Harlem River Drive in Harlem.

Completed in 1937, the complex includes 690 affordable housing units in eight buildings offered to low-income area residents. In 1979, Harlem River Houses was recognized on the National Register of Historic Places for its notable architecture and social context in New York City real estate history as the first example of public housing created for African American residents low income.

Today, the complex is home to over 1,400 residents.

Existing Site Plan – Harlem River Houses

LPC Approved Site Master Plan and Project Scope - Harlem River Houses

LPC Approved Site Master Plan and Project Scope – Harlem River Houses

The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) unanimously approved a full renovation of the historic property in 2021 after NYCHA transferred management to a private development group. Described as a joint venture, the group includes Settlement Housing Fund and West Harlem Group Assistance.

The rehabilitation project is scheduled to begin this spring and will include upgrades to apartments, common areas, elevators, campus security and heating systems. Unit upgrades will include new kitchens, bathrooms, floors and appliances, as well as updates to windows and building exteriors.

The sidewalks, gardens and sculptures on the grounds of the property will also be restored and new playgrounds, benches and activity spaces will be installed. In addition, all electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems will be renovated or replaced.

“There is a desperate need for affordable housing in our country, which is only exacerbated in the New York market where more than half a million people depend on the stability of public housing each year,” Mathew said. Wambua, vice president and director of Merchants Capital’s New York. Office. “Preserving these essential projects not only ensures the continued safety of residents, but allows them to live with dignity. »

Rendering of facade improvements - Harlem River Houses

Rendering of facade improvements – Harlem River Houses

Rendering of new storefront signage - Harlem River Houses

Rendering of new storefront signage – Harlem River Houses

Rendering of new storefront signage - Harlem River Houses

Rendering of new storefront signage – Harlem River Houses

Merchants Capital’s provision of financing to the joint venture was structured as a direct permanent loan to the New York City Housing Development Corporation (NYCHDC) Freddie Mac Risk Share.

To date, Merchants has provided nearly $480 million in financing for more than 3,300 units in NYCHA PACT projects across New York City.

“I am proud of our company’s commitment to be a partner in the revitalization of public housing in New York City, playing a vital role as a financier for many famous and historic properties in our community,” Wambua said.

The Harlem River Houses renovations are expected to be completed between 2024 and 2025. The design team includes Curtis + Ginsberg Architects, preservation experts Higgins Quasebarth & Partners, landscape consultants NV5, and the facade group of Rand Engineering & Architecture.

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