View Full Version : Strivers Gardens in Harlem

October 30th, 2003, 10:23 AM


The New York Post

October 25, 2003 -- This week, some 200 politicians and community activists gathered on 135th Steet to celebrate the groundbreaking of Strivers Gardens, a 170-unit luxury condominium building.
It was a large celebration for something that has become routine in Harlem - new construction.

Remember the "new Harlem?" It was only a few years ago when the neighborhood north of 125th Street began a second renaissance. A stately townhouse was available to practically anyone willing to ride the subway uptown.

In today's market, that "new Harlem" is available only to the super-rich. Turnkey brownstones are priced over $1 million - and fixer-uppers around $700,000.

But fans of Harlem shouldn't despair. The brownstones may be gone, but there are dozens of new developments and renovations underway.

Affordable luxury mid-rises are being built, tenements are going co-op and brownstones are being converted into floor-through condos. "What's happening now is very similar to what happened on the Upper West Side 20 years ago, when landlords saw an opportunity to co-op or condo rental buildings," says Klara Madlin of Klara Madlin Real Estate.

With all the activity, there's no doubt the neighborhood's changing - again. Welcome to the new, new Harlem.

In May, Kurt Noreen and his wife, Sandra, moved into a recently renovated co-op building on 137th and Riverside Drive. The couple had been renting just south of 125th Street when they began looking to buy. "My wife and I are both musicians," says Noreen. "Space is at a premium."

The couple scored a two-bedroom, 1,000-square-foot co-op for $300,000 - the going rate for a 500-square-foot apartment in Midtown, 100 blocks to the south. "I love our building," Noreen says. "We see trees; we have a view of New Jersey. It's great. I wish there were more things to do in the evening, but I think that's changing."

"I do feel this is the beginning of a trend," he says. "During the brownstone boom, everyone was buying any brownstone they could get their hands on. Once those had been snatched up, people realized that there were lots of great apartments in Harlem, too."

Just a few years ago, anyone with the means to leave Harlem, did so. Today, however, the trend is reversing. With their daughters grown up, John Nailor, an orthopedic surgeon, and his wife, Paula, who works in human resources, have no more use for their large house in New Rochelle. So they're moving to a three-bedroom at 1400 on Fifth - a soon-to-be-completed, 180-unit "green" condominium.

"When I first came up with the idea [to move to Harlem] a couple of years ago, my friends were looking at me like I was crazy," says Nailor. "Now they're asking me if I know of a place where they can buy a home or a condo."

"The Harlem I grew up in was an isolated area, predominantly African-American," he says. "It was a community that people, at that time, wanted to evolve away from. There was a touch of despair, but at the same time, a great sense of community."

"The Harlem we're moving to is really a developing entity, loaded with possibilities and optimism."

Many of the new developments in Harlem are financed by the New York City Housing Development Corporation, which aims to provide affordable housing throughout the city. As such, many of the sparkling, luxury mid-rises - like Strivers Gardens - often have income restrictions or favor the applications of neighborhood residents.

Maryam Myika Day, a "20-something" actress currently appearing in "42nd Street," has lived in Harlem her entire life. She's currently residing in a two-bedroom brownstone rental but is waiting - any day now - to move into the one-bedroom she purchased at the Hamilton, a new condominium on 145th Street, between Bradhurst and Edgecomb avenues, that officially opened this week.

"I always wanted something that I could call my own, and have it in Harlem," she says. A forgiving down payment - 5 percent - and low mortgage rates finally made it possible. "With gentrification, it hasn't been easy for African-Americans to buy homes - we want to put money where we live. I was in the right place at the right time."

Still, she laments the bygone era of affordable brownstones. "I remember when they were $10,000 apiece," she says.

"Instead of buying brownstones and renting them, people are converting them to condos," said Belinda Hardin of Harlem Homes. "You'll get your money back faster than renting, and you're not a long-term landlord."
"Not everybody needs a whole brownstone," adds Madlin. "Some people just need a nice place to live."

Eric Schmidt and his wife, Susan Strauss, recently found a "nice place" - a 2,700-square- foot duplex, to be exact - at the Grinnell, a luxury co-op at 800 Riverside Drive that is known as "the little Dakota."

"We went up to Harlem to see a three-bedroom, and not only was it a three-bedroom, but it was much more than anything we had found in Morningside Heights," he says. "All of the sudden it was like, wow, we can live in a place that looks like this."


April 13th, 2004, 12:29 PM
$71 Million Project With Two Towers

Published: April 11, 2004

Two buff-colored brick towers with 170 condominium apartments are under construction on a site on Frederick Douglass Boulevard between 134th and 135th Streets, running most of the way to St. Nicholas Avenue. The Duke Ellington tower is to stand 12 stories high to north, and the Ella Fitzgerald is to be seven stories to the south.

Together the pair will be known as Strivers Gardens. They are to share a main lobby entrance on 135th Street leading to an open-air, L-shaped garden with a waterfall, pond and stream.

The $71.5 million complex, designed by Davis Brody Bond, is expected to be completed by next January as the final phase of the Strivers Center redevelopment project. Begun 11 years ago, that project includes more than 3,000 renovated and new apartments and refurbishing of a park and two subway stations. The projects are named after Strivers' Row, a landmark area in Harlem.

"It is a dream project in a dream location," said Lloyd Williams, president of the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, which has been working with Strivers Gardens Realty L.L.C., the developer, a two-brother partnership of Bernard and Robert Friedman, who were introduced to the current project by its construction manager, Louis Katsos of Jekmar Associates.

The subsidized condominium is to offer 169 apartments for sale by lottery, plus one for a superintendent. They are to range from a 673 square foot one-bedroom for $143,000 to a 1,182 square foot three-bedroom penthouse with rooftop terrace for $529,000. The minimum household income required to purchase an apartment is $48,000, and the maximum is $157,000.

Preference for half the apartments is to be given to applicants living within Community Board 10. So far, 3,500 requests for applications have been received. Applications can only be mailed and must be postmarked from April 21 to June 21. The Web site is Striversgardens.com.

All apartments are to have cherry wood veneer cabinets, intrusion alarms wired back to a concierge desk, audio-video intercom, garbage disposals, granite kitchen counter tops and stainless steel appliances.

The project includes 27,000 square feet of retail space on Frederick Douglass Boulevard, and 9,000 square feet of professional offices on 134th Street. The commercial rooftop is to serve as a common courtyard. ROSALIE R. RADOMSKY

January 12th, 2005, 04:11 AM
Won a lottory space to Striver's Gardens.

Anyone else going to live there from here?