Famed Italian Renaissance-styled former school building affordable to working families; boasts state-of-the art youth facility serving residents and 1,000 local children a year
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been today announced the opening of The Residences at PS 186, a 79-apartment mixed-use affordable housing project that is also home to a more than 11,000-square-foot state-of-the-art clubhouse for the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem (BGCH). The homes will be affordable to individuals earning as little as $24,000, and families with incomes of $31,000 a year.
“This is truly a wonderful day for the Harlem community. Bringing families and kids back to this beautiful and historic school building is an amazing example of the work we are doing to re-energizing local communities, build affordable homes, and keep our children in safe and exceptional learning environments. I congratulate the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem, the families living in this building and everyone who brought us to this moment,” said Mayor de Blasio.
“This elegant restoration and adaptive use of P.S. 186 is truly worth celebrating. The project offers affordable homes to low-income families earning a range of incomes, and serves as a new and bigger space for the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem. It’s a wonderful asset for the community. I thank all the development partners who made this restoration possible, and welcome the new residents to their homes,” said HPD Commissioner Vicki Been.
“For more than 35 years, we have been an anchor for our community, providing programs that support academic success, healthy living, and good character for thousands of local children,” said BGCH Executive Director, Dominique R. Jones. “This new chapter in the Boys & Girls Club of Harlem’s long history here in Harlem signifies our renewed commitment to preparing local young people for the challenges of today in a new Club house equipped with the latest technology and learning resources. Our partnership with the City and our development partners is the first of its kind in the Boys & Girls Club of America movement and represents a new model for community development.”
The refurbished school building is a part of the City’s Housing New York: A Five-Borough, Ten-Year Plan, which has created 53,000 affordable homes since 2014. Responding to the Mayor’s call to address the city’s need for affordable housing opportunities, the City and development partners, like the Boys and Girls Club, are working on innovative projects like the reimagined P.S. 186 building to address the city’s growing need.
Designed by Dattner Architects and developed by Monadnock and Alembic, The Residences at PS 186 retains a number of the former school’s identifiable architectural features including exterior terra cotta ornaments, arched openings, columns, and boasts the new addition of a new decorative cornice. The building features original 14 foot ceilings, historically correct windows, ornamental stairs some preserved classroom locations and wood trim through-out.
The five-story, Italian Renaissance-style, H-shaped school building opened in 1903, and served as an elementary school for 72 years. Several well-known New Yorkers attended P.S. 186, among them Harry Belafonte, Arthur Mitchell, the founder and artistic director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem. But, by mid-1970s, the school building had fallen into severe disrepair and was deemed unsafe. In 1975, the school moved and the building sat vacant.