State approves massive Harlem development plan

July 19, 2012 09:30AM

The Empire State Development Corp. has approved Danforth Development Partners’ proposal to build a $143 million addition to the legendary Victoria Theater on 125th Street in Harlem. The plan calls for 360,000 square feet to be built across two 26-story buildings that feature 229 apartments and 210 hotel rooms. They will sit atop 25,000-square-foot non-profit art complex that is replacing the theater, although the Victoria’s lobby and fountain will be preserved.

The ESDC’s approval marks a major step forward for the long-planned project that now appears to be a reality. Officials began seeking a developer in 2005 and reached a deal with Danforth in 2007, but financing difficulties delayed the project further. Finally, in March 2011, Danforth secured financing from Exact Capital. With the state’s approval, Danforth only needs to pass a final public review process before it can break ground on the project. It hopes to do so in January 2013.

Officials from the Harlem Community Development Corp. expressed their support for the project.

“This will be one of the largest construction projects underway anywhere in New York City — and the good news is it’s going up in Harlem,” said Wayne Benjamin, director of residential development for HCDC. [NYDN]