• Exterior PS 186

    The Residences at PS 186

  • The Residences at PS 186 Outside

    Character-defining H-shaped corridors

  • Interior Apartment PS 186
  • Interior Apartment The Residences at 186

    Bright and spacious units

  • Boys and Girls Club of Harlem

    BGCH located on the ground floor.

  • The Residences at PS 186 Full View

From classrooms to affordable housing — a former school finds renewed purpose in Harlem.

New York City, NY — A former public school (PS) is bringing new opportunities and affordable housing to New York’s Harlem neighborhood. Built in 1902, PS 186 served the Harlem community for 73 years before closing in 1975. The once lively Italian Renaissance-style school then stood empty for decades.

The Boys & Girls Club of Harlem (BGCH) purchased the property with hopes to restore and preserve the history and unique architecture of the building. After years of careful planning and development, PS 186 got its second chance. 

In 2016, BGCH and Monadnock Development rehabilitated the former school into The Residences at PS 186, an affordable housing property made possible by financing through the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

Before and after staircase at PS 186

Before and after restored with original details. (Left photo used with permission by Will Ellis.)

In 2022, Freddie Mac Multifamily partnered with Optigo® lender Merchants Capital to fund a $5.1 million, 10-year loan to refinance The Residences at PS 186.

The five-story, 79-unit apartment complex comprises studios, 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom apartments. Each unit features a full appliance package, hardwood floor living areas and tiled bathrooms with full tubs. Sixty-four percent of the 79 units are affordable to low-income households and 54% are affordable to very low-income households. BGCH occupies a commercial space in the renovated property.

The former school that once represented opportunity to the children of Harlem now continues the legacy for its residents and the BGCH. We’re proud to make home possible through this financing.

Before and after shot of PS 186

The exterior restored with historically correct windows and cornices.