Oft-delayed Harlem development breathes new life
By Steve Cuozzo
More than a decade since a dream was born for Harlem’s derelict Victoria Theater site, a new future at 233 W. 125th St. is really, truly, at hand.
The $178 million, mixed-use project atop the theater’s famous facade is expected to open by spring 2019. The 1917 Victoria served as a vaudeville house and later as a cinema until it closed in 1989. It’s been shuttered ever since — a blight on the block that’s home to the Apollo Theater and to a retail boom.
Now, “we have all our financing and permits in place,” said Exact Capital managing partner Craig Livingston. Exact Capital, which owns 30-odd Harlem and Bronx properties, is part of a joint-venture development team that includes the hotel-happy Lam Group and Danforth Development, a local firm led by Steven C. Williams.
Livingston and Jeff Lam, a son of Lam Group founder John Lam, sounded exultant that the 26-story tower between Adam Clayton Powell and Frederick Douglass boulevards is at last coming out of the ground. The 400,000-square-foot structure will have 191 mixed-income rental apartments; a 210-room Marriott Renaissance hotel; about 25,000 square feet of retail; and another 25,000 square feet of cultural and arts space.
It’s part of the “huge transformation happening on 125th Street,” Harlem’s historic main shopping drag, Livingston said. What Realty Check previously called a “whirlwind” includes Jeff Sutton’s Whole Foods-anchored retail building at Lenox Avenue; new developments soon on sites owned by the Durst Organization and Extell; and the planned enlargement of the Studio Museum in Harlem designed by architect David Adjaye.