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Ribbon cut on revamping of Astor Row in Harlem.

Mrs. Vincent (Brooke) Astor and Mayor David N. Dinkins cut the ribbon marking the completion of the repair and rehabilitation of the facades, windows and ornate porches of four landmark rowhouses on a block in the heart of Harlem known as Astor Row.

This is the first phase of he major revitalization effort for the entire block that uses landmarks rehabilitation as die spur to community renewal. The four-story brick rowhouses, each designated as landmarks by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, were developed by William Backhouse Astor in the 1880's.

To date, over $1.5 million has been raised from public and private sources for interior and exterior repairs. A lead grant of $500,000 from The Vincent Astor Foundation for the restoration of the porches sparked interest in the project. It was followed by a grant of $150,000 from The Commonwealth Fund for roof repairs. The completed work to date was also made possible by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission's Facade Improvement Program, which granted $75,000 for cleaning and repointing the facades of three buildings. Additionally, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) paid for the rehabilitation of the facade of a rowhouse owned and managed by HPD as well as interior repairs.

The buildings' intricate wooden porches and front yards gives the block a rural feeling.

Susan Henshaw Jones, president of the Landmarks Conservancy, said the coalition of private and public agencies is committed to helping each owner carry out work on his or her building -- without displacing the residents who live there now. In addition to grant dollars, the Historic Properties Fund, a program of the New York Landmarks Conservancy, has authorized 3 percent loans of $335,000 for exterior rehabilitation of several more buildings and has coordinated other loans for interior repairs as well. Fully three-quarters of the 28 buildings are affected by either loan or grant dollars.

Two abandoned buildings on the row will be converted by the Landmarks Conservancy and the Abyssinian Development Corporation into cooperative units for lower and middle income residents. The State's Department of Housing and Community Renewal has awarded a grant of $400,000 for this component of the project, and an additional grant of $40,000 from Chemical Bank -- to be announced at the event -- will help complete this funding package. Major corporate supporters include Morgan Guaranty Trust Company of New York, The Fuji Bank and Trust Company, Apple Bank for Savings and The East New York Savings Bank.
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Title Annotation:renovation complete on landmark rowhouses in Harlem, New York, New York
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Oct 28, 1992
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