Construction in Harlem to Displace Local Business?

National Urban League Rendering

West 125th Street in Harlem will be getting a major update, with over twelve new construction buildings going into development in 2014. Residential and commercial properties will be built  in this location along with the new headquarters for the National Urban League and NYC’s first Civil Rights Movement Museum. A certain building that is slated to begin in 2015 on West 125th Street between Adam Clayton Powell Blvd and Malcolm X Blvd is under major scrutiny as the new development would effectively push out retailers that have held businesses along the busy street.

Harlem in the midst of the new construction will be receiving more residential and commercial spaces, not to mention the building in question will demolish and rebuild a rat-infested garage. However, despite the good that new developments would bring the bad news is, that retail spaces that already exist on West 125th Street in the same parameters as the proposed 400,000 square foot complex, would be forced out as soon as their leases are up.

State Senator Bill Perkins has taken it upon himself to try and sway some empathy from Bill de Blasio. Hoping to get support for the ailing retail shops that are in the midst of being shooed out of their long-held locations. West 125th Street acts as the main street for Harlem losing their prime location will not only damage their businesses but relocating is a monster in itself.

“Will you lift the lamp beside our golden door and preserve the fruits of their hard and humble labor,” Perkins beseeched to de Blasio. “Or will you smother the flame of perpetual hope by allowing the closure of these businesses and the demolition of their storefronts,” continued Perkins, reported by the Daily News.

This West 125th Street development that will reportedly cost $225 million to complete, has been in the works since 2012 and is finally seeing some real traction. Hoping to attract more tourism and jobs for Harlem, the city-state backed project will be the new cultural fulcrum of Upper Manhattan.

De Blasio who has been a big supporter of small business in New York City has yet to respond to the official letter as of now. Although, Phil Walzak the mayoral spokesperson did chip in with his own comments, “Mayor de Blasio has long been a staunch supporter of small businesses across the five boroughs, recognizing they are the building blocks of a thriving economy and sources of livelihood for thousands of New Yorkers.”

State officials have announced that the business owners that are being displaced are applicable to apply for loans given at low-interests and relocation assistance.