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Pedestrian Plazas Continue Transformation of West Harlem’s Factory District

A three-block public greenway is the latest addition to the planned reimagining of West Harlem by Janus Property Company. Stretching from West 125th Street to 128th Street on Amsterdam Avenue, the pedestrian path and recreation area will connect the renovated factories that make up the Manhattanville Factory District, Patch.com reported, and was made possible by Janus’s recent purchase of a 1,600-square-foot lot at 437 West 126th Street for an undisclosed sum.

The company is developing the 1.5 million-square-foot campus as a STEM incubator to complement Columbia University’s nearby extension. In a statement, Janus founder Scott Metzner has touted the development as a “connection point between Columbia and City College.”

The District is anchored by the Taystee Lab Building, a 350,000-square-foot tower on the site of the former Taystee bakery. When it’s completed later this year, it’ll offer state-of-the-art lab facilities and Class A office space, as well as space for various scientific, academic, creative, and nonprofit organizations.

exterior of brick building

Outside of the Sweets Building, a former confectionary research lab now home to Harlem Biospace.

Photo: Donna Dotan

Designed by LevenBetts Architects and SLCE Architects, the 11-story building marries a contemporary glass-clad design with an industrial aesthetic, according to 6sqft.com, paying tribute to the neighborhood’s 19th-century roots as a manufacturing center crammed with breweries and factories.

The Factory District will also house the new Gluck+-designed Malt House, site of one of the largest breweries in turn-of-the-20th-century Manhattan; the Mink Building, a bioscience lab that served as a fur storage facility for society matrons in the 1930s; and the Sweets Building, a former confectionary research lab now home to Harlem Biospace. Janus’s Metzner calls the purchase of the lot at 126th Street “an important piece of Janus’s vision of a publicly accessible, pedestrian-friendly district.”

people walking in green space

The new pedestrian-friendly space would allow for new commercial and/or community-friendly real estate.

“Working closely with our landscape architect, Terrain Work, and the community, we are continuing to grow a unique and inviting outdoor space for the existing neighborhood and new commercial, community-facility, and life sciences tenants,” he added.

According to the Factory District website, “these broad, light-filled green spaces will feature beautiful landscaping and numerous places to gather, hold an outdoor meeting, or just enjoy an autumn day.”

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