DDC and Cultural Affairs Celebrate Start of Renovations Project for Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center

Rendering of the updated Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center including a new elevator tower. Image Credit: DDC.

On January 6, 2024, the Department of Design and Construction and the Department of Cultural Affairs announced the start of a new renovation project for the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center located at 107 Suffolk Street in the Lower East Side. 

The Puerto Rican/Latino cultural center was established in 1993, and the six-story building it is housing in was a former school, PS 160, that was built in 1897. The center hosts performing arts programming including exhibition galleries, studios, theaters, and offices and welcomes 70,000 visitors annually. The project will modernize the building and make the building fully ADA compliant. The project will create wheelchair accessible restrooms and an elevator lobby. A new elevator tower will connect all the floors and roof. The new entrance and lobby will be better suited to showcase exhibitions. 

Construction is expected to be completed by summer 2025. The project will be managed by the Department of Design and Construction, and the nearly $13 million project will be funded by the Department of Cultural Affairs. 

DDC Commissioner Thomas Foley stated, “DDC builds cool stuff all over the City including many projects with DCLA which enhance the cultural landscape of New York City. This project will make the building fully ADA compliant and renovate the building’s main lobby and corridors, giving The Clemente team a beautiful new space to thrive and grow in. The DDC team is delighted to launch this project, which will benefit all Lower East Side residents who visit The Clemente.”

Cultural Affairs Commissioner Laurie Cumbo stated, “The Clemente is a hub for community and cultural activity, a space whose programming brings artists and audiences together to create something that is deeply rooted in the Latinx history and artistic legacy of this neighborhood. We’re so proud of the city’s nearly $13 million investment in this much-needed accessibility project, which will expand access to the facility and its remarkable programming for all New Yorkers.”

By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the Editor of CityLand and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)



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