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National Black Theater Will Replace Harlem Home With New Theater, Apartments, and Retail Space

Construction will start this fall and is expected to finish in spring 2024.

National Black Theater Will Replace Harlem Home With New Theater, Apartments, and Retail Space

The National Black Theater is planning its next stage of life, replacing its Harlem home with a 21-story building with apartments, retail and a new theater, The New York Times reports.

The theater began over 50 years ago, when Barbara Ann Teer first rented space in a building at 125th Street and Fifth Avenue in Harlem. In 1983, Teer bought the building, after it was damaged in a fire, with a vision of revitalizing it and trying to use real estate to help pay for the theater's work.

"She saw it as the next piece of this temple to Black liberation, which is ownership," said Sade Lythcott, Teer's daughter, who serves as the theater's chief executive. "Ownership would allow the real estate to subsidize the art, which was a model that would disrupt the standard practice of nonprofit theater funding."

Now, the theater will replace its longtime home with a 21-story building that will include a mix of housing, retail and a brand new home for the theater.

"What we're building today really has been informed in all ways by this blueprint that Dr. Teer put into place starting in 1968," Lythcott said. "It feels like what our community of Black artists and the community of Harlem deserve."

National Black Theater has partnered with a new real estate firm, Ray. Also joining the project are the subsidized housing developer L + M, the architect Frida Escobedo, the firm Handel Architects, and the design firms working on National Black Theater's space, Marvel, Charcoalblue, and Studio & Projects.

The new building being planned at 2033 Fifth Avenue will include 222 units of housing, an event space and a communal living room where people might eat, work and hang out; as well as "health and wellness programming."

Construction will start this fall and is expected to finish in spring 2024.

Read more on The New York Times.

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