Business Investment Highlights

Business Investment Highlights



Almacén- Hot Bread Kitchen in La Marqueta 

Since 2007, Hot Bread Kitchen (HBK) has supported immigrant and low-income women and men through its culinary workforce and business incubation programs. HBK’s Project Launch offers paid training for its participants in order to enhance culinary and critical small-business skills. Its second program, HBK Incubates, provides commercial kitchen equipment rental at sliding scale rates to aspiring food entrepreneurs.  In 2011, UMEZ awarded HBK a $150,000 grant to establish Hot Bread Almacén, a retail outlet at the historic La Marqueta on 116th Street and Park Avenue.


Best Market of Harlem - West Harlem (March 2010)

Best Market (renamed in 2014) of Harlem is a supermarket located on Frederick Douglass Boulevard between 118th and 119th Streets. Best Market of Harlem is the 12th supermarket opened within the New York area under the Best Yet Market name since the company’s inception in 1994. Best Market specializes in providing high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables, Boar's Head cold cuts, custom cuts of quality meat, freshly baked breads, and other grocery items at competitive prices.

Best Market of Harlem has helped to address many of the concerns and needs related to the availability of good-quality, affordable fresh fruits and vegetables in Upper Manhattan. In addition to providing high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables to the community, the project created approximately 70-80 full-time and part-time jobs. UMEZ provided a $1,000,000 loan.


East River Plaza - East Harlem (January 2007)

East River Plaza, by Forest City Ratner and the Blumenfeld Development Corporation, is a 530,000 square foot retail complex with tenants including Costco, Target, Best Buy, Marshalls, Old Navy, PetSmart, and Bob’s Discount Furniture, as well as a parking garage that holds nearly 1,300 cars. It is located on East 116th Street near FDR Drive. The UMEZ investment consisted of three parts:

  • $40 million in Empowerment Zone bonds
  • $15 million loan 
  • $80,000 workforce development grant to STRIVE to screen, train, and hire local residents.

UMEZ worked with STRIVE, a locally based international nonprofit focused on job readiness, to find and prepare Harlem residents to work in the retail stores. Nearly 1,000 residents participated in the training, leading to significant full-time, part-time, and seasonal jobs at East River Plaza stores.


Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (March 2005)

The Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine is a 50,000 square foot campus on 125th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard, across from the Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. State Office Building. Touro is committed to training osteopathic physicians, with a particular emphasis on 1) practicing medicine in underserved communities and 2) increasing the number of underrepresented minorities in medicine. The UMEZ investment was a $4.7 million loan.


General Motors Car Dealership (July 2003)

General Motors developed an 80,000 square foot Chevrolet and Saturn dealership on 2nd Avenue and FDR Drive. The UMEZ investment was $17 million in tax-exempt bonds.


Strivers Gardens (June 2003)

Strivers Gardens is located on 8th Avenue between 134th and 135th Streets, near St. Nicholas Park. The two buildings have 170 condominiums, 27,000 square feet of retail space (with a Duane Reade—the only major drug store between 125th and 145th, a Chase Bank, Subway sandwich shop, and a space for the nonprofit Operation Hope). The parking garage can accommodate 180 cars. UMEZ invested with Strivers Gardens Realty L.L.C., the developer, a two-brother partnership of Bernard and Robert Friedman. The UMEZ loan was $1.9 million.


Gateway Plaza (June 2002)

125th Gateway Plaza by Gateway Ventures, LLC, on the corner of 125th Street and Lexington Avenue, is a four-story, 55,000 square foot mixed-use retail and office building. Tenants include a Raymour and Flanigan furniture store and a Duane Reade drug store. The UMEZ investment was $3.1 million.


Gotham Plaza (January 2002)

Gotham Plaza is a 90,000 square foot retail/office and commercial space on East 125th Street between Lexington and 3rd Avenues. Tenants include Foot Action, Bank of America, Cingular, and a parking garage. The project was done with Blumenfeld Development. The UMEZ investment was $3 million.

Powell Plaza (October 2000)

Powell Plaza at Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard between 136th and 137th Streets was developed by Cheever Development Corporation and Community Developers Inc. They renovated and created 36 units of owner-occupied condominiums and 3,000 square feet of retail space. UMEZ provided a $938,000 construction loan. The retail tenants are not nationally known, but do employ and serve local residents: a hair salon, a driving school, a tutoring service, and a couture cake bakery.


Harlem USA (June 1998)

Harlem USA, on 125th Street and 8th Avenue, is the result of investments from UMEZ; Grid Properties, a real estate investment and development company recognized as a leader in creating high-quality urban retail projects; and the Gotham Organization, a privately owned, family-run business. Harlem USA is a 275,000 square foot retail and entertainment complex. Current tenants include New York Sports Club, Magic Johnson Theater, Old Navy, Modell’s Sporting Goods, K&G SuperFashion Store, and TD Bank. The UMEZ investment was $11.2 million.