It is Broadway Housing Communities’ honor to announce the launch of its new affordable housing, educational and cultural arts mixed-use development on the northern boundary of Harlem’s Sugar Hill. Galvanized by generous philanthropic support, Broadway Housing is now poised to create a showcase of innovation in affordable housing and community development.
The Sugar Hill development will transform an underutilized site into a green model of urban community revitalization that integrates affordable housing, education and cultural resources to enrich the neighborhood for generations to come. The Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling, an entirely new cultural institution at the site, will celebrate the rich heritage of this historic neighborhood and engage all who visit in activities related to art and storytelling. Best practices at the highest standard of affordable housing, museum-based early childhood education, and nonprofit resources for families will be provided.
Opening in 2014
About the Sugar Hill Development
History of the Sugar Hill Development
In January 2008, with generous philanthropic support, Broadway Housing acquired a large development site on the northern boundary of West Harlem’s historic Sugar Hill District, to launch its seventh project. The Sugar Hill development will continue to advance Broadway Housing’s mission to create long-term solutions to deep poverty.
Our experience with Dorothy Day Apartments has strengthened Broadway Housing’s conviction that the permanence of housing families at high risk presents an ideal foundation to infuse educational opportunities and other supports that effectively combat poverty. In 2007, the number of homeless families in New York City emergency shelters hit record levels with a 17% increase in one year. Children now comprise the greatest number of those homeless and the devastating toll on their lives has inspired our plans for Sugar Hill.
The Sugar Hill District
The Sugar Hill development site is located in West Harlem, also known as Hamilton Heights, on the boundary of The Sugar Hill historic district. The site stands at the crossroads of three distinct communities: Washington Heights, a stronghold of the region’s Dominican population; Central Harlem, primarily African American; and West Harlem, a mixed community of blacks, whites and Hispanics. The area is characterized by a high poverty rate, overcrowded housing, escalating housing costs, and low educational performance.
West Harlem is ranked first among Manhattan districts with children and adults who are eligible for public health insurance, but are not enrolled2 indicating evident need for access to government benefits and an array of community supports. Low levels of formal education, high unemployment, and the lack of proficiency in the English language combine to impede the social and economic progress of adults and children. Parents face obstacles participating in children’s education as a consequence of language and cultural barriers.
These statistics stand in sharp contrast to the heritage of Sugar Hill, one of New York City’s architecturally and historically rich neighborhoods. Sugar Hill was named during the 1920’s as an epicenter of the Harlem Renaissance when African American cultural, intellectual and social prominence and wealth flourished. W.E.B. Du Bois, founder of the NAACP, writers Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, pioneering civil rights activists Roy Wilkins and Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, boxer Joe Louis, actress Lena Horne and musicians Paul Robeson, Cab Calloway, Count Basie and Duke Ellington all resided in Sugar Hill. Known as the foundation of the Civil Rights Movement, the area of Sugar Hill was named a municipal historic district by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 2000.
The Development Site
Perched on Coogan’s Bluff, the new Sugar Hill building will have Harlem River views and overlook the greenery of Highbridge, St. Nicholas and Jackie Robinson Parks, the new and former Yankee stadiums, and the historic Macombs Dam Bridge. The site’s geological height will make the building visible from a distance across the Harlem River, the Major Deegan Expressway and the Metro-North railroad service from Grand Central Station.
Public transportation makes the site easily accessible with local and express bus service and a local stop on the Independent Subway Line at the corner of 155th Street directly across the street from the site. Vehicle access is excellent with ready entrance to Harlem River Drive and the Major Deegan Expressway, key attributes for the market audience of the development’s new cultural institution, the Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling.