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Victoria Theater Redevelopment Victoria Theater Redevelopment
The curtain has finally risen on the long-planned redevelopment of Harlem's Victoria Theater. The gamechanging development at 233 West 125th Street, near the Apollo Theater, topped out construction earlier this year at 28 floors, 300 feet high becoming Central Harlem's tallest building, besting the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building one block east. The $178 million project is being spearheaded by the Lam Group, Exact Capital, and Danforth Development Partners. The Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) is also helping fund the venture.
Planned within the 417,366-square-foot two-winged project are 211 rental apartments, of which 50% will be offered at “affordable” rents to middle- and low-income households, a 210-key Renaissance Marriott Hotel, 30,000 square feet of retail, 25,000 square feet of art and cultural institution space, and a 60-car garage. According to a recent story by the New York Post, the tower will be the first hotel built in Harlem in nearly 85 years and will be topped by a rooftop bar with views spectacular view over the neighborhood to Central and the Midtown skyline.

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Victoria Tower Residences, 228 West 126th Street
Victoria Tower Residences, 228 West 126th Street Harlem
Progress at the Victoria Theater redevelopment in August 2019
Victoria-Harlem-tower (CityRealty)
Harlem-094 Biking the wrong way in a bus lane while texting, ah New York
No design awards will be won here...
Everything is better with less cars...
Victoria-Theater-development-04 Unremarkable impact
Somewhat unusual for a NYC high-rise is that the project's T-shaped floorplan will be shared by both hotel suites and apartments. The rentals lie along the top of “T” fronting 126th Street, while the hotel portion kicks out towards 125th. The different uses will function as two separate buildings and have dedicated elevators and amenities according to DOB filings. The development secured a 30-year, 421-a tax abatement which will lead to the creation of low- and middle-income apartments as well as units for persons with mobility, hearing or visual impairments.
The cultural component of the project will have two black box theaters of 199 and 99 seats both operated by the Apollo Theater Foundation. Apollo, along with other cultural tenants, will also occupy office space within the project's lower levels. Accompanying the hotel use will be a ballroom and dining area on the fifth floor.
Victoria Theater Restored facade of the Victoria Theater and new foyer (Aufgang)
Google Earth aerial (CityRealty)
'We are going to add a new chapter by creating a destination address on 125th Street.' - Steven Williams, founder of Danforth Development
Renaissance New York Harlem Hotel Rendering of the residential wing and interior public space associated with the Renaissance New York Harlem Hotel
Harlem development As the tallest in Harlem, apartments and hotel suites will have sweeping views of the neighborhood, Central Park, and skylne
The building will stand approximately 340 feet tall to the top of its mechanical bulkheads, making it the tallest building in Central Harlem. Aufgang Architects is the designer and drew up a distinct façade for the tower’s separate wings. The hotel will be clad in a sheer glass façade that will loom behind the preserved façade of the old theater building. The residential portion will be dressed in masonry and sport neat rows of picture windows — consistent with Harlem’s overall vernacular. The three-story 125th Street façade adorned with Ionic columns and terra-cotta rosettes have been salvaged and will be adaptively reused as part of a new entryway. Several other historic components will be reconstructed inside the new tower.
Hotel lobby space
233-West-125th Street-03 Lobby bar
Hotel guestroom
“The Victoria is a Harlem icon, historically providing opportunity and entertainment,” said Steven Williams, Danforth’s Founder and Managing Partner. “We are going to add a new chapter by creating a destination address on 125th Street.”
Once Harlem’s largest and most elegant theater, the 2,394-seat Victoria was designed in 1917 by Thomas W. Lamb, who built dozens of Loew's theaters around the world and several Broadway venues. Built as a vaudeville house, the Victoria later became a first-run movie theater. The theater’s grand size made it difficult to rent out and is often attributed to its demise. The state took over the building in 1977 and it was then carved into five smaller theaters that, according to the New York Times, offered movies, plays, lectures and musical performances. See photos of the old Loew's Victoria Theater here and here.
Victoria redevelopment -9034 Salvaged facade of the Victoria Theater(CItyRealty)
Victoria Theater-04 Historic photos of the Loew's Victoria Theater via Dayton in Manhattan
The theater building languished unused since 1997 and in fall 2004 the ESD and Harlem Community Development Corporation (HCDC) issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the site’s redevelopment where Danforth Development was selected from seven proposals in 2007.
To address gentrification concerns, HCDC/ESD wanted to ensure Harlem residents are given key roles in the construction and development of the hotel and entertainment complex. Previous reports have pegged the project to create 700 construction-related jobs as well as 373 permanent positions. Harlem-based Danforth Development was awarded the contract just before the financial crisis hit, making it difficult to find financial backers and resulting in another round of delays. With the Lam Group and Exact Capital coming on board, the project's groundbreaking took place in early 2017. Construction is expected to wrap up sometime in 2020.
Jimmy Jazz Loving the new facade on Jimmy Jazz by the way - puts those souless glass retail boxes to shame
Victoria Theater redevelopment as of late September 2018 (CityRealty)
Victoria-Theater-Redevelopment-04 Looking up from West 126th Street (CityRealty)
The construction site from Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard (CityRealty)