Dr. Joan O. Dawson Plaza Ribbon Cutting

Senior Complex Renamed to Honor Former HCCI Board Chair

Last February, low-income and formerly homeless Harlem seniors began moving into a new building at 11 West 118th Street. The 9-story building designed by Aufgang Architects features amenities such as a landscaped outdoor recreation area, fitness center, programmed community space, laundry, and bicycle parking. The 100-percent affordable, 136-unit complex features 81 units set aside for low-income seniors and 55 homes for formerly homeless seniors.

Because of the pandemic, a ceremonial ribbon-cutting was delayed and eventually took place in July. At the ribbon-cutting, the building and surrounding plaza was named to honor Dr. Joan O. Dawson, former longtime chair of the Board of Directors at Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI). The $65 million project was developed by HCCI in partnership with Camber Property Group, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD), and the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC).

“Today’s ribbon cutting is a celebration of all the hard work that went into planning and executing this important new development, and I am happy to be a part of it,” said Rick Gropper, principal and co-founder of Camber Property Group. “As our city rebuilds and recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important we ensure that all New Yorkers—including our seniors—can remain in the city they hold so dear. Projects like the Dr. Joan O. Dawson Plaza represent the future of New York City, and Camber is as committed as ever to that future.”

Formerly known as Victory Plaza, the central Harlem building will feature on-site wraparound social services provided by HCCI, addressing areas such as financial security, health and wellbeing, and isolation prevention.