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Rendering credit: Aufgang Architects; Construction progress as of late January (CityRealty) Rendering credit: Aufgang Architects; Construction progress as of late January (CityRealty)
Air rights have been at the heart of some of New York’s most interesting real estate stories of the past few years. Churches have eagerly sold air rights to developers of towering condos and used the funds to open refurbished sanctuaries in the new buildings. Residents of City Prairie bought air rights from a developer to keep their cherished views, which resulted in a glassy retail jewel box rising where another tower was originally planned.
However, a Harlem brownstone truly takes the cake. When Azimuth Development Group approached the owners about a new condo on the rise, the developer didn’t offer the owners enough to move somewhere comparable not out of greed, but because it was truly not in the budget. Several failed compromises later, the owners took an “if you can’t beat them, join them” attitude and sold their air rights. The resulting design by Aufgang Architects is a “backwards F-shaped” building to accommodate the brownstone.
99-Morningside-Avenue-2 All photos circa February 2020 via CityRealty
NYC real estate
Brownstones-01 The traditional Harlem brownstone block to the east
Foundation work on the development known as 99 Morningside was slow and painstaking, but construction topped out at the beginning of 2018 and a sales launch is on the horizon. The 23 one- through four-bedroom condos will be on top of a 7,700-square-foot community space for St. Luke's Baptist Church, which used to be housed in one of the buildings demolished to make way for the new condominium.
Harlem condo developemnts A peek of the brownstone wedged between the new tower
Morningside Park The building from Morningside Park (CityRealty)
99 morningside avenue Nearly completed facade
101 morningside avenue
A series of cascading private terraces offers uninterrupted views of Morningside Park, and floor-to-ceiling windows fill every unit with natural light. The homes will also have state-of-the-art appliances and in-unit laundry. A 421a tax abatement is anticipated, and amenities will include a fitness room, outdoor rooftop recreation areas, bicycle storage, an attended lobby and a children’s playroom. Morningside Park’s renovated playground, handball and basketball courts are nearby and the A and C line’s 125th Street station is one block away.
99-Morningside-Avenue-6 Interior rendering via Halstead
Harlem condos with views
A $44 million offering plan was accepted at the end of 2019, and prices are expected to range from $770K to $2.75 million. According to CityRealty listings, this is close to the median price for similarly sized Harlem condos. Rumor has it that the developer will use one floor of the brownstone as a showroom, allowing would-be buyers to experience both the history and future of the site in one stop.
The prices are also roughly in line with those at new developments in a recent building boom. At the end of the block, a pair of availabilities at 88 Morningside Avenue starts at $650K. Circa Central Park still holds the record for home of Harlem's most expensive sale, and its current availabilities start at $1.15 million.

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