Extell’s plan for East Harlem development site revealed

Gary Barnett’s company files documents detailing nine-story office building

Gary Barnett and 149 East 124th Street (Credit: Google Maps)
Gary Barnett and 149 East 124th Street (Credit: Google Maps)

Extell’s controversial East Harlem development site is destined to become … a low-rise office building.

Gary Barnett’s company, known for soaring, shiny residential spires such as Central Park Tower, filed plans this week to construct a nine-story, 354,000-square-foot commercial building on the property, according to public records.

The building will stand 120 feet tall with the first floor dedicated to retail. About 41,000 square feet will be earmarked for a community facility.

Extell spent $70 million to assemble the block-long site, between Third and Lexington avenues and East 124th and 125th streets. It is known as the Harlem Pathmark site for the former supermarket at 149 East 124th Street.

In 2016, speculation arose that Barnett — whose calling card is ultra-luxury condos — could build up to 600 apartments on the site by tapping into the city’s affordable housing programs.

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The developer began his assemblage in 2014 by purchasing the East 124th Street parcel for $39 million. He later bought out the supermarket’s lease at the property for $21 million. Extell also acquired a second plot that was previously a post office for $10 million.

The sale of the former supermarket site was controversial. The seller, Harlem landlord Abyssinian Development Corporation, became embroiled in a legal battle that ended with the nonprofit having to fork over $11 million to the city, whose Economic Development Corporation owned 49 percent of the property.

Some East Harlemites felt betrayed by Abyssinian for sacrificing its local supermarket. Then-Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said at the time that Abyssinian “threw this community under the bus.”

Extell filed plans in late 2016 to demolish the Pathmark. The developer also landed $65 million in financing from Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance. Mortgage documents show JPM Ex Portfolio Seller LLC took over the note in 2018.

Write to Erin Hudson at ekh@therealdeal.com