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2031-Fifth-Avenue-1 Rendering of new National Black Theater building via Placeful
All too often in New York, the appearance of a beloved theater and a big-name developer in the same sentence involves the theater being demolished to make way for a charmless condominium. However, we are happy to report that the opposite is happening at 2031-2033 Fifth Avenue with the National Black Theater and L+M Development Partners. The two entities teamed up to redevelop the site to include a beautiful new home for the theater in 2017, and the community board, City Planning Commission, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer have all spoken in favor of the project.
The National Black Theater will be an essential part of a new 240-foot-high, 20-story building that will occupy the entire eastern blockfront between 125th and 126th Streets. The ground floor will have retail, a residential entrance, and the theater’s lobby. The second through fourth floors will be entirely dedicated to the National Black Theater with a double-height theater in the round, a black box theater, and classrooms and offices. Floors five through twenty will contain 240 residential units said to be 88 studios, 141 one-bedrooms, and 11 two-bedrooms. A percentage of apartments will be permanently affordable, but the exact figure has not yet been decided. According to an environmental review, a construction period of up to 24 months is expected, during which time the National Black Theater will perform at satellite venues throughout the city.
National-Black-Theater-of Harlem-04 Zoning massing study (via NYC DCP)
Site map (via NYC DCP)
The National Black Theatre was founded by Dr. Barbara Ann McTeer is 1968 and has since become one of the oldest black theaters in the country, not to mention the oldest black theater company owned and operated by a black woman. In 1983, the National Black Theater acquired its current site at 2031 Fifth Avenue. It is in the Special 125th Street District, which provides developers a bonus of four square feet of extra floor area for every one square foot of arts space within the development. This initiative was created to support 125th Street’s role as an arts, entertainment, and business center, which is exactly what the new project is set to become.
Existing building
Looking north up Fifth Avenue
2031-Fifth-Avenue-2 Project outline via City Planning Commission

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Content Specialist Michelle Mazzarella Michelle is a contributing writer and editor for real estate news in New York City
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