While the astounding changes to Harlem's main street continue apace, the truth is that many of these much-hyped projects will take years to reach fruition–just look at the Whole Foods, which took half a decade to go from rumor to reality.
A recent walk down 125th Street confirms that only a few of the most recent plans to make headlines are actually close to being realized, while the biggest have a long way to go. So here, then, is what is (and isn't) on the horizon.
The next chain to arrive looks to be appliance retailer P.C. Richard & Son, which now has job posters in front of its "new Harlem superstore" at 309 W 125th Street. A peek at its website confirms the store is looking for sales associates for this location (as well as others).
On the corner of 125th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard, sneaker store Footaction is wisely restoring "Spirit of Harlem," the mosaic mural it bricked over during a store rebranding at the end of last year–causing a major uproar in the process. The colorful tribute to local artists was created by Louis Delsarte and had stood there since 2005. The restoration should be complete by April 2018.
All that remains of the historic Victoria Theater designed by Thomas Lamb at 233 West 125th Street is the facade, but plans are moving forward to build a glittering tower right behind it that will include a Marriott Renaissance hotel, mixed-income rentals, plus room for retail and an arts space. A sign with a rendering of the high-rise lists an anticipated finish date of Summer 2019.
The Studio Museum in Harlem closed its galleries in January as it prepares to build a new home in the same location. In the meantime, its iconic African-American flag is back outside the old building and the lobby is now doubling as a visitor center. Stop by to see a wooden model of the new structure (top photo), visit the museum shop (open every day), find information about off-site programs, and put your thoughts on a stickie in the "reflection area." Construction on the new building is "expected to continue through 2021."
Although many thought Victoria's Secret and Bath and Body Works would open at the end of last year in their newest location at 112 W 125th Street, work on the building continues–although hopefully not for too much longer.
In late January the Commercial Observer reported that burrito chain Chipotle was opening its first Harlem location at 72 West 125th Street sometime in the first half of this year. Based on the early renovations visible from the street, that timeline doesn't seem to be just wishful thinking.