After years of red tape, a new development at the site of Harlem’s old Victoria Theater on 125th Street finally got the go-ahead earlier this year. Danforth Development Partners and Exact Capital have enlisted Aufgang & Subotovsky architects to design a major mixed-use project that will include a cultural arts center, retail space, 229 apartment units, and a 210-room Cambria Suites hotel.
Construction was said to be starting around now, but when we stopped by the other day it was difficult to gauge what, if anything, was going on behind that facade. The complex certainly will see a lot of work before it rises to its slated 26 stories — completion date is penciled in for June 2016.
In timely news, at the Harlem Hospitality and Culinary Conference last week, DNAinfo reports, Curtis Archer, president of the Harlem Community Development Corporation, said a study his group paid for showed that Harlem was short by 1,500 hotel rooms, and that even future growth in the hotel industry doesn’t match demand. We’d certainly agree; Harlem is a great area but, besides the Aloft Harlem a couple of blocks from the Victoria, there’s nothing for visitors who might want to spend the night here — after an evening at, say, The Apollo Theater.
While we’re certainly pleased to hear that the new Cambria Suites will absorb a fraction of that unmet hotel room need, we would love it if we could get a few of the hipper brands uptown too. With all of the culture and history on offer in Harlem, how about a funky boutique chain that would honor the location? A Kimpton Hotel, perhaps, even a reasonably priced Hotel Indigo; or how about Ace Hotels bringing their live music series up to Harlem?
We may be dreaming, but are seriously in agreement about the need for more Harlem hotel options. The area deserves more than just a passing visit.
Midweek November rates at the Aloft Harlem start at $239.
October 30, 2013 at 8:47 AM | by KarenLouise