Harlem swath sees obstacles to development

As swaths of Harlem have gentrified through the years, real estate investors were banking that the commercial area around 126th Street and Park Avenue would do the same. But the area has proven surprisingly resistent to the types of changes seen nearby, according to the New York Times.

In August, five properties — four on the west side of Park Avenue, one on the south side of 126th Street — sold to Artimus Construction for $1.35 million. A broker told the Times that the relatively low price is a result of the area’s zoning, which is for automotive and heavy commercial uses; in addition, junk yards surround the property. The site has yet to see any movement toward development.

The seller was BNS Real Estate, which unloaded the properties after being confronted with increased property taxes, code violations, zoning restrictions and stalled development nearby, according to the Times,

“We thought we would get some retail type of use in that area,” Brad Barr, a principal of the company, said. “But none of that happened.”

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Consequently, there has been a push for the Community Board to rezone the area  and “some developers are trying to get a [early] foothold,” George Sarkissian, the board’s district manager, said,

Nevertheless, a hotel, an office tower and a commercial corridor have all been recently proposed by developers in the area. [NYT] —Christopher Cameron