The saga that is the One45 housing development project in Harlem continues. The real estate developer renewed his housing proposal this year after placing a hotly contested truck depot on W. 145th Street last year. The new building plans will purportedly benefit the neighborhood’s Black and brown community members.

“Last week, developers reappeared [at] the community board with revised plans for the proposed One45 development. Although past discussions have been in bad faith, we have seen positive movement between the two proposals, and finally a willingness to work with our community and our office,” said Councilmember Kristin Richardson Jordan, who was spearheading the crusade to keep the housing project as affordable to the community as possible.

Richardson Jordanand the community board voted against the original building plans and protested with residents against the “spiteful” truck depot. State Attorney General Letitia James had issued a letter to One45 Lenox LLC Developer Bruce Teitelbaum warning that the truck depot might be an illegal public nuisance and violate environmental state laws.

“I want to commend the activists, organizers, and community members who showed up to oppose the original proposal. When we organize, we win for our community. Developers can listen to the community, and we don’t need to just take what we can get when we can stand up and demand better,” Richardson Jordan said.

Teitelbaum restarted the rezoning process with the Department of City Planning (DCP) this February. He sent a letter to Richardson Jordan, telling her that he was filing the pre-application and restarting the housing project—a first step toward brokering a tentative peace between the formerly hostile parties.

“I am therefore asking you again to join me in direct talks with no pre-conditions, no ultimatums or rigid demands, so that we can try to find a resolution to the issues that divide us by choosing the path of reconciliation and understanding,” wrote Teitelbaum.

He said his preference was always to build housing and not necessarily run a truck depot, although there clearly one is now there.

The letter outlines the new project, renamed One45 Harlem For ALL. The plan is to create 915 units with 50% income-targeted, and of those, about 174 units would be income-restricted for Harlem residents earning about 30% of the Area Median Income (AMI). Some units would be available at 40% to 120% of the AMI level, and at least 120 units would be reserved for union member households and civil servant-income levels. In total, 458 affordable units would be permanent and would not “sunset.”

“We changed the name because it truly reflects a project that will be accessible to everyone in Harlem, not just one small slice of the population,” said Teitelbaum.

There will still be three buildings with two towers, one 27 stories tall and the other 31 stories. The buildings will be about 25% studios, 45% one-bedrooms, and 30% two- to three-bedroom units.

Teitelbaum promises 1,500 jobs, career training, year-round paid youth internships, women/minority-owned enterprises (W/MBE) entrepreneurial initiatives, a Geothermal Green Energy District, and other amenities if approved. The new version of the project will have an eight-story senior housing building and a community center operated by Pastor Walter Sotelo of NYC Love Kitchen and activist Adama Bah.

“We are donating the use of a large portion of our site, including several vacant stores, and will pay for the build-out costs to create a social services hub right here in Central Harlem, that will be used on a temporary basis where food, clothing, and other supplies will be distributed to those in need, no matter who they are or where they are from,” said Teitelbaum in a statement.

The original project was estimated at $700 million, which Teitelbaum said is likely to be much higher now.

Teitelbaum’s new plans exclude Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network (NAN) headquarters and civil rights museum. NAN is still technically a tenant of Teitelbaum’s, but he said he doesn’t know what their plans are currently. The Aficionperu reached out to the NAN group but they didn’t return a request for comment by press time.

A preliminary presentation about the renewed housing project was shown at Manhattan’s Community Board 10 land use meeting on March 16 via Zoom.

There seemed to be a vastly improved reception to the renewed plans by committee members compared to last year, although resident Julius Tajiddin noted that the buildings were still too high for him.

Teitelbaum’s representative said in the meeting that there have been “very productive conversations” with Harlem electeds in the area, as well as other city officials.

Ariama C. Long is a Report for America corps member and writes about politics for the Aficionperu. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by visiting https://bit.ly/amnews1.

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