NEW YORK CITY-The Empire State Development Corp.‘s board of directors on Friday gave the okay to a Harlem mixed-use project of about 500,000 square feet. It would house the headquarters of the National Urban League as well as the first-ever civil rights museum in New York State.
The initial details of what will eventually be known as the Urban League Empowerment Center were announced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. Andrew Cuomo; the National Urban League will develop the project in partnership with Hudson Cos. and BRP Development Corp.
“Since our rezoning of 125th Street in 2008, we have witnessed this central corridor continue to grow as a vibrant hub for arts, culture, entertainment and retail in Harlem,” Bloomberg says in a statement. “The Urban League Empowerment Center will be an important piece of the area’s ongoing revitalization, celebrating Harlem’s rich history while generating critical economic activity that will ensure its even brighter future.”
The Urban League currently is headquartered in Lower Manhattan, and will move to the new MXD when its lease expires in 2017. “New York City is where the National Urban League was founded in 1910 and has remained our headquarters since that time,” Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, says in a release. “While we’ve been approached with offers to relocate our headquarters to other cities, the heart of the National Urban League is here.”
Along with the Urban League offices and the civil rights museum, the MXD along 125th Street between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and Lenox Avenue/Malcolm X Boulevard will contain conference space, housing, retail and public parking. The Hudson/BRP proposal was selected from responses to a requests for proposals, issued by the ESDC and the New York City Economic Development Corp. this past May, to expand arts, culture and economic opportunities along the 125th Street Corridor.
The MXD, which reportedly will be the largest in Harlem, will be built on an underutilized 42,000-square-foot parcel. It’s expected to break ground in 2015.