News & Politics

The Kalahari in Harlem is Open For Business


Harlem’s first green luxury apartment building (located directly across the street from the peejays) is open and ready to help already skyrocketing neighborhood rents go even higher.

The Kalahari will be affordable to households earning middle- and moderate-incomes, ranging between $63,810 to $131,165 for a family of four and $44,640 to $91,760 for a single person, according to a HPD press release.

“The Kalahari shows that affordable housing can also be sustainable housing,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “As we work to build housing for the million new people expected to come to New York by 2030, we need to ensure that we are building homes that people can afford and that allow the city to grow in an environmentally responsible way.”

But not everyone in the community is appreciative of the green building and its back-to-the-motherland motif, as the Voice reported last May when the building was under construction.

Apartments in the two 12-story towers sell for up to $1 million and, according to Edwards, they’re going quickly. Luxury condos and multi-million-dollar brownstones have become the norm in central Harlem, where the estimated average household income is $24,261. What makes the Kalahari unique are the colors of its facade (a checkerboard of charcoal, beige, and brown) and its co-developers (black). But knowing that the Kalahari isn’t just another case of white developers cashing in does little to ease the concerns of residents who are threatened by gentrification.

“We get along to a certain extent,” says Lucille Wright, describing the neighborhood, which is made up largely of African-Americans and West African immigrants. “We’re the same color but not of the same mentality.”

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 6, 2008

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