With the price of real estate so dear, every new building in New York comes with big expectations, but this one more than most. The $84 million subsidized housing complex in Upper Manhattan called Sugar Hill Development has outsize ambitions.
It has been conceived to serve some of the very poorest New Yorkers, who will move into anything but a run-of-the-mill building. Designed by a marquee architect, with no concessions to timid taste, the project aspires to must-see status.
That’s for starters. Sugar Hill also has a preschool for more than 100 children in conjunction with a museum of children’s art and storytelling, which will display artists from the area, along with work by kids. This takes the project beyond even exceptional subsidized housing, like Arbor House in the South Bronx, which has a gym and a hydroponic farm on the roof, or Via Verde, which pioneered links between good design and health care for an underserved neighborhood.
Like Via Verde, Sugar Hill is something of an extravagance and not easily replicable. But it posits a goal for what subsidized housing might look like, how it could lift a neighborhood and mold a generation.[…]