The New York City Economic Development Corporation announced Wednesday that the former Taystee Bakery site in Harlem will be redeveloped into a green, mixed-use structure featuring light manufacturing, artists and not-for-profit spaces, a local bank, an ice skating rink, and a local brewery. Project developers Janus Partners and Monadnock Construction asked LevenBetts Architecture to create a design that merges the eclectic program to create an economic and social center for the neighborhood.
Called the CREATE @ Harlem Green, the new building will incorporate the masonry walls of the Taystee Bakery facility and add a new modern structure hovering atop the historic buildings. “We’re rethinking the industrial building,” said David Leven, partner at LevenBetts and director of graduate studies at Parsons. “What’s left are big, heavy, dark buildings that have been abandoned or disused for some time. We’re preserving what’s left but opening the facades up to the street.”
Plans call for 100,000 square feet of new manufacturing space, 90,000 square feet of office space, 40,000 square feet of retail space, and 10,000 of community facility space, in total estimated to cost $100 million.
Renderings revealed by LevenBetts may change as plans for the site are further developed, but Leven told AN that they represent a “well developed concept.” The new structure, clad in perforated metal panels, mediates the scales of surrounding buildings, stepping down its height along 126th Street. Leven said the neighborhood expressed support for the massing of the new structure. A continuous band expressing a structural truss and its sawtooth rhythm was originally conceived as a mechanism for hanging lower floors above the historic facades. While the expression will likely remain, its may not have a structural component. “We must think realistically about the budget,” Leven said.
Green roofs and walls abound throughout the new building, including a wall along 125th Street covered in hops to be used by the Harlem Brewing Company which will operate a brewery in the new building. Harlem Brewing will offer tours of their new facility and run a tap room and gift shop. More traditional green roofs including a landscaped courtyard for Carver Federal Savings Bank, the nation’s largest African-American-operated bank, can be found on the larger building.
Councilman Robert Jackson praised CREATE @ Harlem Green in a statement, “I am thrilled that this development, which is consistent with the vision of the community for this neighborhood, is moving forward. It will re-activate an important site in our community, and bring hundreds of good jobs to the people of Harlem.”
Before construction can begin, the project must move through public review. Developers must also complete assembling their team and evaluating conditions on the site to help with foundation design.