Bringing 250 Affordable Homes to East Harlem

Ascendant Neighborhood Development and co-developers, The Community Builders (TCB), will develop the site located at 413 East 120th Street, to be known as The Beacon. The East Harlem Multi-Service Center site will give rise to an affordable 250-home residential building, of which 75 homes or 30 percent will be set aside for households that have experienced homelessness. The new residential building will be constructed at the back of the existing East Harlem Multi-Service Center, which will be rehabilitated and expanded. The original architecture of the multi-service center will be preserved and include additional space for after-school programming, a new atrium, green space, and the “Wagner Walk” walk path connecting the residential building to the multi-service facility. The renovated facility will continue to host the nonprofit organizations serving East Harlem.

“At TCB we pride ourselves on building and sustaining strong communities where all people can thrive,” said Desiree Andrepont, Senior Project Manager at The Community Builders. “It is a privilege to partner with Ascendant Neighborhood Development Corporation and bring together the East Harlem community with this exciting project. The transformation of the Multi Service Center will create a collaborative space to unite neighborhood leaders, local organizations and the greater community, and the development will provide much-needed affordable housing for generations to come”.

The City selected developers and their winning proposals from the competitive East Harlem RFP released in 2019, which sought plans to redevelop two sites that include affordable housing alongside retail and community services.

“For over thirty years, Ascendant has worked with our partners and allies to preserve, protect, and celebrate the unique history and heritage of East Harlem,” said Chris Cirillo, Executive Director at Ascendant Neighborhood Development Corporation. “We are profoundly grateful to have the opportunity to re-envision the Multi-Service Center as a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive 21st century community hub. We look forward to working with community members, Wagner Houses residents, Multi-Service Center tenants, Community Board 11, Council Member Ayala, and all of the other stakeholders who have helped to shape the vision for this site and the broader neighborhood.”

East Harlem Rezoning Context

In 2017, the New York City Council approved the East Harlem rezoning to identify opportunities to create new mixed-income housing and preserve existing affordable housing. The East Harlem Rezoning builds on recommendations of the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan (EHNP), developed through a comprehensive community planning process and led by a committee of local stakeholders including former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, Manhattan Community Board 11 and Community Voices Heard. After a series of community meetings, the EHNP was issued with 232 recommendations for addressing key neighborhood issues. In addition to authorizing the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program for East Harlem, the rezoning creates opportunities for economic development while preserving the community’s existing commercial and manufacturing uses.

Our long-standing commitment to affordable housing and preservation has produced focused efforts to collaborate with East Harlem NYCHA residents. With generous funding from Enterprise Community Partners, and using the dynamic East Harlem Neighborhood Plan as a starting point, the Northern Manhattan Collaborative (NMC), led by Ascendant and working with Hester Street Collaborative, assessed several NMC-owned and publicly-owned sites in East Harlem as potential locations for affordable housing development and other needed non-residential uses called out in the EHNP recommendations. The study produced not only several in-depth analyses of specific sites, but also a strategy for creating more connection among existing buildings and spaces in the neighborhood.

The resulting report, titled “Public Sites for Public Good“, details a vision for leveraging the neighborhood’s affordable housing opportunities to address community-identified needs with special attention to city-owned property. View the full report, available in English or Spanish, here.

We are humbled to have been chosen to take on this important project. Ascendant is thrilled to be teaming up with The Community Builders to build 250 more truly-affordable homes in East Harlem, as well as provide meaningful and needed, community-centered neighborhood services to our East Harlem community.


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This portal is to be used by current East Harlem Multi-Service Center tenants and development team members only. Content on this site is for solely for informational purposes.

Ascendant Neighborhood Development Corporation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
421 East 116th Street, New York, NY 10029

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