Racanelli Construction Company, Inc. (Melville, NY, www.racanelliconstruction.com), a leading construction management, general contractor and design/build resource for commercial, industrial, retail, medical, pre-engineered and multi-unit residential projects, recently completed the construction of the Brotherhood Sister Sol Community Center in Harlem, New York. The 22,000 square foot facility also serves as the headquarters for the Brotherhood Sister Sol(BroSis) organization. BroSis is a nonprofit organization founded over 27 years ago with a mission to promote social justice, education, organizing, and training focused on Black and Latinx youth. Located on W. 143rd Street between Amsterdam and Broadway, the building consists of five stories and one basement. Racanelli served as the General Contractor on the project which began on June 20, 2019 and was completed May 5, 2022.
The project entailed the construction of the state-of-the-art community center incorporating a full commercial kitchen, rooftop basketball court paid for by the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation, dance and art rooms, Light Room that overlooks a community garden, and rear yard terrace with custom trellis and greenhouse. The building structure is comprised of structural steel framing with concrete slabs on metal decks supporting rain screen siding, Bendheim glazing, curtainwall storefront windows, Nana Wall moveable glass walls and a Greenwall shading system on the property’s south elevation. All aspects of the architectural design are intended to inspire the community’s youth to expand their aspirations and have an environment in which to flourish.
In a statement about the project, BroSis Co-Founder and Executive Director Khary Lazarre-White was quoted as saying, “When this project began, I challenged our architects from Urban Architectural Initiatives to design a building that’s about the enlightenment of children. Architecture tells you things. It speaks to the value of what’s happening within that space.”
Among the challenges that had to be overcome was constructing the building during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as integrating the various design visions into a constructible finished product. The project also required approvals from the New York City Department of Building, the Fire Department of the City of New York, the Department of Transportation, and Special Inspectors.
The new community center, valued at $20 million, was made possible through private donations, government grants and the good will of the local neighborhood.
Serving on the project’s team from Racanelli were Project Executive Nicholas Racanelli, Project Manager Jeff Kopping, Project Superintendent Anthony Mish, Assistant Project Manager Michael Aniboli, and Project Coordinator Jude Gluck.