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New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today announced the selection of the Franklin H. Williams Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI) to redevelop a former firehouse located at 120 East 125th Street in East Harlem. The CCCADI plans to relocate its headquarters to the new facility from Midtown Manhattan. The organization plans to invest about $3.6 million in the site and preserve the character and appearance of the 19th Century firehouse building. The CCCADI was selected as a result of a Request for Proposals issued by NYCEDC, in collaboration with the City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).
“Good economic development makes communities better by serving the needs of its residents and creating a destination for many more. I am pleased that EDC was able to assist in this remarkable effort to redevelop this historic firehouse for the benefit of the East Harlem community,” said NYCEDC President Seth W. Pinsky. “The project also brings tremendous growth opportunity for a cultural organization and diverse, multidisciplinary programming closer to the community it serves.”
The Franklin H. Williams Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute will occupy and redevelop the 8,500-square-foot firehouse into its new headquarters. The building, which received landmark status in 1997, will include a café, shop, exhibition and performance spaces, media center, offices, meeting and community rooms, kitchen facilities and classrooms.
"I commend the Mayor and all those involved in making this project a reality,” said City Councilmember Melissa Mark Viverito. “The Administration's willingness to honor the request that the firehouse not be auctioned to the highest bidder but instead allow it's designation to a community organization is a decision that will bring great benefits to East Harlem. This partnership between the City and East Harlem will allow this historic asset to serve as an economic engine for East Harlem and a destination location that is truly reflective of the area's history and diversity."
The firehouse is the former home of FDNY Engine Company Number 36 which was decommissioned in May 2003. In 2007, City Council Member, Viverito established a community steering committee to help develop guidelines for the reuse and development of the firehouse site. NYCEDC and the HPD, used those guidelines to craft the Request for Proposals (RFP).
"The Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI) will be returning home rooted in the cultural communities that live our mission. Our work documents, promotes and promulgates the connections that we share as global communities,” said CCCADI President Dr. Marta Moreno Vega.
“CCCADI in East Harlem/El Barrio will be at the central point of the convergence of the international cultures that make East Harlem/El Barrio a historic and vital community."
The Franklin H. Williams Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, established in 1976, is dedicated to researching, documenting and promulgating the diversity of racial and cultural traditions African traditions in the Americas.
New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City’s primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC’s mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City’s competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City’s many opportunities.
For more information about NYCEDC projects please visit http://www.nycedc.com