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Developers must continue investing in our city's future.

Despite pessimists' doubts, New York City's construction industry is still booming. In fact, a recept construction report stated that New York City has issued more building permits in the first quarter of 2001 than in the same period in 2000. Not bad for an economy on the "slide." Nowhere has this building boom been felt more than in Harlem -- an area of the Big Apple that is truly on the rebound.

Since the late 1990's, the Harlem renaissance has been in full swing and does not show any signs of slowing down in the near future.

Once a neighborhood lacking investment, this community has come alive with retail, residential, and commercial activity. The establishment of the Empowerment Zone in the area sparked the development of Harlem USA on 125th Street, with anchor tenants such as Old Navy, Disney, and a Magic Johnson multiplex movie theater. Even former president Bill Clinton has recognized all that Harlem has to offer and has selected 125th Street for his new office. On the residential side, the revitalization of Harlem's housing stock is evident in the dramatic rise in value of the neighborhood's historic townhouses and the construction of new residential properties.

Without a doubt, the premier development in the area has been Renaissance Plaza, the largest new residential development in Harlem in more than 20 years and one of the largest mixed-use properties in New York City. Together with the Alliance for Neighborhood Commerce, the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the Home Ownership and Revitalization Partnership (ANCHOR) program, Levine Builders has created this spectacular $60 million property which is set to welcome its first tenants this July.

The 11-story Renaissance Plaza contains 241 ownership units and 60,000 SF of commercial space. Major tenants include Rite Aid, Met Foods Supermarket, Petland Discounts, Ashley Stewart women's clothing, Carver National Bank, and a 200-car parking lot. Suna/Levine is developing the project and Levine Builders is the contractor.

Apartment homes in Renaissance Plaza were offered to purchasers who satisfied certain financial requirements, agreed to live in the apartments as their primary residence, and whose annual gross income was between $25,488 and $140,500, depending on family and apartment size. Based upon ranking in the random pool, credit eligibility and program requirements, eligible applicants were given the opportunity to purchase an apartment. A whopping 4000 applications were received for Renaissance Plaza -- and all 241 units have now been sold.

Financing is being provided by the NYC housing Development Corporation; NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development Capital Budget; the Empire State Development Corporation through the New York State Metropolitan Economic Revitalization Fund; the NYC Retirement System; the NYC Investment Fund; the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; and a syndicate led by Chase Manhattan Bank, European American Bank, Fleet Bank, and North Fork Savings Bank. Loan guarantees are being provided by the State of New York Mortgage agency and the federal Section 108 Guarantee Program. Greenberg Farrow Architects designed the project.

These 241 families and the commercial tenants of Renaissance Plaza are the future of Harlem and the future of New York City. Public officials, developers, and the business community must continue to invest in Harlem and other needy areas of our city. After all, if not for a bold vision of renewal there would be no Harlem Renaissance or Renaissance Plaza.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Jul 18, 2001
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