/ Land Development / Governor Hochul Unveils Winning Proposal to Build 105 Affordable Housing Units and Arts and Community Space at Former Lincoln Correctional Facility

Governor Hochul Unveils Winning Proposal to Build 105 Affordable Housing Units and Arts and Community Space at Former Lincoln Correctional Facility

Parul Dubey on December 6, 2023 - in Land Development

Partnership Led By Infinite Horizons, L+M Development Partners, Urbane, and Lemor Development Group Will Transform Lincoln Correctional Facility Into Dynamic Hub for Housing and Community Spaces

Part of Governor Hochul’s Bold Vision to Address New York State’s Housing Crisis Through Executive Action – Including Initiative to Repurpose State-Owned Sites as Housing

Also Builds on Recommendations of the Prison Redevelopment Commission to Reimagine Underutilized Jails and Prisons

See Renderings Here

Traducción al español

Governor Kathy Hochul today unveiled Seneca, the selected proposal to redevelop the former Lincoln Correctional Facility in Manhattan. This proposed project would invest over $90 million in Harlem, bringing 105 affordable homeownership units, community spaces, and jobs with ambitious MWBE contracting and local hiring goals, all of which would contribute to the enduring prosperity of the Harlem community. A 65 percent Minority-Owned Business Enterprise partnership led by Infinite Horizons, L+M Development Partners, Urbane, and Lemor Development Group has been conditionally designated to transform the 10,000-square-foot property to deliver affordable homeownership and community-centric spaces.

“This announcement brings us one step closer to transforming the former Lincoln Correctional Facility in New York City into a vibrant, mixed-use development with more than 100 affordable new homes,” Governor Hochul said. “As part of my commitment to increasing New York’s housing supply, my administration is continuing to follow the recommendations of the Prison Redevelopment Commission and reimagine what’s possible at underutilized jails and prisons. Soon, this project will unlock tools to help us address the housing crisis, create jobs, and improve New Yorkers’ quality of life, and I look forward to working with the development team to bring it to fruition.”

Now envisioned as Seneca, this reimagined site would fuse affordable homeownership with arts and culture to become a vibrant community hub in Harlem. The Seneca project builds on the Governor’s bold vision to address New York’s housing crisis, including through the Pro-Housing Communities Program and Executive Order 30, which catalyze barrier-breaking approaches to accelerate critically needed development.

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “By transforming the former Lincoln Correctional Facility into 105 units of affordable housing, we are not only creating new pathways to homeownership, but we are also planting the seeds for generations of residents to put down roots and build wealth in the community they call home. Seneca represents the power of reimagination to sow spaces where equitable growth can blossom for a brighter future in Harlem.”

Seneca is a visionary redevelopment proposal designed to unlock the full potential of the 10,000-square-foot site and deliver significant benefits to the Harlem community. Located on West 110th Street, the site sits directly across from Central Park and is close to transit, retail, schools, and premier cultural institutions. At the core of this transformative project are 105 affordable homeownership units, all of which would be affordable to households earning 80 percent and 100 percent of area median income (AMI) and require only a 5 percent down payment to purchase, offering an invaluable opportunity to build wealth through property ownership. Creating affordable homeownership opportunities in Harlem would advance social mobility and equity in the community and have a powerful transformational impact on each family at Seneca for generations to come.

The proposed project will be sponsored by Empire State Development under a General Project Plan, will undergo environmental review under the State Environmental Quality Review Act, and will be presented for public review and comment prior to its final consideration and approval.

L+M Development Partners Chief Executive Officer Lisa Gomez said, “Our collaborative plan for Seneca centers around creating affordable homeownership opportunities and transforms the former Lincoln Correctional Facility site into a hub of creativity and economic empowerment in Harlem. We are excited to continue our work in this wonderful community, and we are grateful to Governor Hochul, Infinite Horizons, Urbane, and Lemor Development Group for their partnership on this innovative project.”

Lemor Development Group Co-Managing Member Kenneth M. Morrison said, “Lemor Development Group is incredibly proud to participate in this collaboration to provide affordable homeownership opportunities on Central Park North. This area of Harlem is where my parents grew up, and as a 2nd generation real estate developer, I am pleased to continue my father’s vision of solution-based development by providing quality housing in the Harlem Community.”

Infinite Horizons, LLC Co-Founder, Principal and COO Roland E. Powell Jr. said, “Infinite Horizons is extremely proud and excited to participate in this collaboration with this amazing team of distinguished affordable housing providers, the Governor, and Empire State Development to create this homeownership opportunity on Central Park North. The Seneca is a fantastic opportunity to bring our vision of continuous community improvement to Harlem through affordable homeownership. By redeveloping the Lincoln Correctional Facility into a new high efficiency condominium building we are giving a new opportunity to increase affordable homeownership in the city. Randall and I are pleased to continue our socioeconomic vision by providing solution-based housing opportunities like the Seneca to the Harlem Community.”

Urbane Principal and CEO James Johnson-Piett said, “Helping steward the promise of the Seneca – providing high quality, affordable homeownership options for working- and middle-class families in Harlem while repurposing the former Lincoln Correctional site to a center for excellence for commerce, culture, and conviviality at the gateway to Harlem – is an honor and a responsibility we do not take lightly. We are thrilled to collaborate with Governor Hochul and our partners at Infinite Horizons, Lemor Development, and L+M to make this generational wealth building project a reality.”

Beyond housing, Seneca would also serve as a vibrant hub of artistic, cultural, and educational initiatives to enrich and engage the Harlem community. Through collaborations with community partners, the ground floor will be activated with a mix of programming. This includes opportunities for youth to develop artistic skills, flexible spaces for diverse exhibitions focused on educational initiatives centered around social justice and equity, and a dedicated library and reading area.

As New York State works to expand its affordable housing stock, ventures like Seneca provide a model for how to re-purpose decommissioned prisons into inclusive communities centered on affordable housing, jobs, arts, culture, and education. Lincoln Correctional Facility closed in 2019 as part of the State’s initiative to redevelop underutilized correctional institutions. In December 2022, Governor Hochul released the New York Prison Redevelopment Commission recommendations that detail analyses of 12 closed prisons and consider redevelopment opportunities for each site to help them better serve the State’s economic needs. By transforming this vacant Harlem correctional facility into 105 affordable residences with vibrant community spaces, the redevelopment advances Governor Hochul’s vision to bolster accessible housing as well as empower residents and breathe new life into neighborhoods across New York.

Repurposing State Land for Housing
Governor Hochul announced a package of executive actions earlier this year to promote housing growth as part of an ongoing commitment to increasing the housing supply and addressing New York’s housing crisis. As part of that package, the Governor directed state agencies to review lands in their ownership and control and determine whether those sites can be used for housing. In addition to today’s announcement, Governor Hochul has announced requests for proposals to redevelop the former Bayview Correctional Facility and Javits Center’s Site K in Manhattan and the former Downstate Correctional Facility in Fishkill.

Governor Hochul has also worked closely with the Queens Borough President to explore potential new uses, including housing options, at the former Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Eastern Queens.

State Senator Cordell Cleare said, “The availability of affordable housing is of the utmost importance to my district, and I applaud the work of Empire State Development in going beyond traditional benchmarks in considering its MBWE participation. As this historic development moves forward, I am going to fight to ensure that the size of the units reflect the needs of the residents, that income guidelines are realistic, and that every consideration be made by all of the partners to engage the community as the development moves forward.”

Assemblymember Edward Gibbs said, “As the Assemblymember representing the district that encompasses the former Lincoln Correctional Facility, I understand the importance of supporting a redevelopment project that creates opportunities for our community. That is why I am delighted that Seneca was the chosen redevelopment project. Seneca will be comprised of 105 new, 100 percent affordable, homeownership units. Harlemites will finally get the opportunity to attain an affordable view of Central Park. This is a big step in the right direction, making homeownership a reality in Harlem allows us to empower our community members. It allows individuals to create generational wealth, obtain housing stability, and grants them a sense of belonging. I am thrilled to be working with Governor Hochul, ESD and State colleagues to make home ownership a reality for many of our community members.”

Assemblymember Inez E. Dickens said, “A consistent lightning rod for debate in New York City is the issue of affordable housing, and its impact on the homogeneity of the community. I have, for the better of my professional career, long before becoming a public servant, argued that for a community to remain intact the residents need affordable home ownership. Seneca has been chosen as the developer to reimagine the former Lincoln Correctional facility for 105 units for an affordable homeownership project plan. This effort is exactly the sort of project that will allow for long standing residents who have called Harlem and East Harlem home for generations, to grasp a piece of Central Park North for the next generation. This will also permit those fortunate families to start investing in their financial futures. We look forward to working with Governor Kathy Hochul and Empire State Development to see this project through.”

Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine said, “It is vitally important that we build affordable housing opportunities throughout Manhattan—especially in neighborhoods like Harlem which has seen a tremendous amount of change in recent years. The Seneca development will not only create home ownership opportunities but also wealth building for Harlem families. I look forward to helping this project take shape and enrich the community.”

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