When people think of New York brownstones, two historic areas come to mind — Harlem and Brooklyn. While Brooklyn has hardly been out of the media in recent years because of celebrity owners and dizzying gentrification, what should not be forgotten is the fact that Harlem has some of the most stunning townhomes in the whole of New York. It may also be one of the most undervalued neighborhoods in the city too.
The average price per square foot for Harlem townhouses shot up by 171% between 2009 and 2017 and the neighborhood also boasted a 15% average growth rate in that time, according to Property Shark. With Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Fairway and other major retail chains already encamped uptown, it’s only a matter of time before other sections of Manhattan cotton on the fact that their money can travel a lot farther a few blocks north.
Major rezoning and tax incentives, particularly in East Harlem, are bringing in 1.7 million square feet of retail. The 30,000-square-foot of East Harlem Media Entertainment and Cultural Center will also be a huge boost for the area. The West Harlem corridor has been a hive of activity, as well. The 26-story Marriot hotel has taken up residence above the long-vacated Victoria Theater site between Adam Clayton Powell and Frederick Douglass Boulevards. The historic Apollo Theater has a new performing arts center on its lower floors.
“Harlem is one the last bastions of affordability in the five boroughs,” Colliers International Executive Managing Director, Eric Yarbro, told the New York Post recently. The arrival of the 2nd Avenue subway line to the neighborhood will only increase the demand for housing. Indeed, a slew of new developments are under construction. These include 543 West 122nd St, a 32-story condo building with 183 apartments, 145 West 110th St, an upcoming 36-condo complex and 2349 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, an 8-story, 134-condo building dubbed The Rennie, after the Harlem Renaissance Ballroom and Casino, the former site of which it will occupy. Eleven Hancock, a 71-unit condo development, just went on the market, with prices starting at $585,000.
All this activity means one thing for Harlem’s existing coveted housing stock: townhouses will become prized possessions. This is reflected in the record breaking listing of 32-33 Mount Morris Park West. Priced at a humbling $14,900,000, the two townhouses consist of 32 Mount Morris Park which has been renovated and its neighbor, 33, which has not. The former is listed individually for $9.9M, while the latter, which needs an entire gut renovation can be purchased for $5.4M. Combined they can form an 18,000 square foot urban palace for someone with deep pockets and a vision. The homes are steeped in history from pioneers of industry to famed dancers. While the price is groundbreaking, as Harlem becomes one of Manhattan’s most in demand neighborhoods, this is surely a sign of things to come.