See plan to replace former Harlem prison next to Central Park with 105 affordable homes

by NEW YORK DIGITAL NEWS


All renderings courtesy of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office

A plan to replace a former Harlem prison with affordable housing is moving forward. Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday unveiled Seneca, the winning proposal for a project that will transform the Lincoln Correctional Facility at West 110th Street, which shuttered in 2019, into 105 affordable homes for purchase. The governor selected a team led by Infinite Horizons, L+M Development Partners, Urbane, and Lemor Development Group to develop the roughly $90 million project, which will go through a public review process before final approval.

Empire State Development will sponsor Seneca under a General Project Plan. The project will undergo environmental review under the State Environmental Quality Review and will be open to public review and comments before a final vote for approval.

“This announcement brings us one step closer to transforming the former Lincoln Correctional Facility in New York City into a vibrant, mixed-use development with more than 100 affordable new homes,” Hochul said. 

“As part of my commitment to increasing New York’s housing supply, my administration is continuing to follow the recommendations of the Prison Redevelopment Commission and reimagine what’s possible at underutilized jails and prisons. Soon, this project will unlock tools to help us address the housing crisis, create jobs, and improve New Yorkers’ quality of life, and I look forward to working with the development team to bring it to fruition.”

Under the Seneca proposal, the site would be converted into a community hub for the Harlem community, in addition to providing affordable homeownership for residents. The 105 homes will be affordable to households earning 80 percent and 100 percent of the area median income. Just a five percent down payment would be required to purchase the homes.

The creation of these affordable homes will provide an opportunity for Harlem families to build wealth through real estate ownership.

Residents of Seneca will have easy access to Central Park, located across the street, as well as abundant public transportation options, schools, and world-class cultural institutions.

“It is vitally important that we build affordable housing opportunities throughout Manhattan—especially in neighborhoods like Harlem which has seen a tremendous amount of change in recent years,” Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine said. “The Seneca development will not only create home ownership opportunities but also wealth building for Harlem families. I look forward to helping this project take shape and enrich the community.”

The announcement follows recent reports the governor has abandoned plans to enact legislation requiring all New York state localities to meet certain housing growth requirements every three years, according to City and State NY.

During her 2023 State of the State address, Hochul announced the New York Housing Compact, an ambitious plan that would work to create 800,000 new homes over the next decade by requiring all cities, towns, and villages to meet home creation goals on a three-year cycle.

While the housing growth mandate, the most significant piece of the New York Housing Compact, is now out of the question, Hochul is still expected to include a replacement for the expired 421-a tax abatement in her 2024 agenda. A replacement of the tax break would accelerate the development of rental housing which would include some affordable housing.

The former Lincoln Correctional Facility is one of 12 closed prisons across the state that were identified as possible locations for redevelopment in a report released by the state in late 2022.

This fall, Hochul announced a request for proposals for the redevelopment of Chelsea’s Bayview Correctional Facility at 550 West 20th Street into a residential development with affordable and supportive housing. As part of the RFP, all proposals for the 100,000-square-foot development must have a minimum of 60 supportive housing units and 15 short-term transitional residences.

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