Crain’s New York Business: Harlem culture center back on track

11 Oct

A long-planned African and Hispanic arts and culture center in Central Harlem is a go after all.

Developer, Full Spectrum of NY, and its partner, My Image Studios Inc., recently closed on the financing to begin construction of the 20,000-square-foot center dubbed MIST, which stands for My Image Studios, said Roland Laird, CEO of My Image Studios. BRP Community Development agreed to allocate $21 million in New Market Tax Credits to build the center, which will be located on the ground-floor retail space at the Kalahari Condominium, a 249-unit affordable housing development at 40 W. 116th St., between Lenox and Fifth avenues.

New Market Tax Credits are designed to stimulate private investment in distressed urban and rural areas. Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group bought the tax credit and as a result provided debt and equity financing for the project. In addition, the Prudential Insurance Company of America also provided a loan, he said. Last year, the developers had hoped to get funding from city stimulus funding via the Recovery Zone bond program but that deal fell through.

“It has been a long process and we hope this center will be a transformative project in Harlem,” said Mr. Laird. “We can’t wait for it to open.”

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