In July 1938, Metropolitan Life Insurance announced that it would immediately commence construction of “a self-contained … apartment community” that would include commercial and recreational facilities, 66 acres of open landscaped space, as well as a central heating plant and 51 building clusters, comprising 171 building entrances. The entire complex would cover 129 acres, only 27% of which would be built on. Richmond H. Shreve, whose firm had designed the Empire State Building, created the plans for the complex
In the area of the complex nearest Hugh Grant Circle the developers created a shopping center of over 500,000 square feet, largely integrated into the residential structures, but also including the first branch of Macy’s outside the flagship at Herald Square.
MetLife Acquires the Site
Metropolitan Life Insurance Company acquired a 129-acre site from the New York Catholic Protectory (combination orphanage and reformatory) for the purposes of developing the Parkchester residential complex. Construction on the development commenced during the same year.
Construction Completed on South Quadrant
Construction on the south quadrant of the development was completed and the first 500 families moved into Parkchester in March of the same year.
Construction of the Parkchester development was completed.
All of Parkchester’s 12,271 apartments were fully rented and occupied.
Open Occupancy Pledge
Metropolitan Life Insurance Company signed an “Open Occupancy Pledge” with the Commission on Human Rights in July, agreeing to modify its renting policies which historically had barred non-whites from residing at Parkchester.
In September of the same year, Metropolitan Life sold the complex in its entirety, to a syndicate headed by Harry B. Helmsley, who promised to honor the “open occupancy pledge,” enabling Parkchester to evolve into the wonderfully diverse and integrated community that it is today
Parkchester North Condominium
Parkchester North Condominium (PNC) was established as per the terms of an offering plan filed with New York State Department of Law and the apartments in the North Quadrant of Parkchester were converted to condominium ownership.
Parkchester South Condominium
Parkchester South Condominium (PSC) was established as per the terms of an offering plan filed with New York State Department of Law and apartments in the South, East and West Quadrants of Parkchester were converted to condominium ownership.
Parkchester Preservation Management
All 6,362 unsold “sponsor” apartments located throughout every building in all four quadrants of Parkchester, were purchased by Parkchester Preservation Company, L.P., (PPC), a partnership formed by two experienced real estate investor / developers, Morton Olshan and the late Jeremiah O’Connor, and CPC Resources, Inc., a development subsidiary of the Community Preservation Corporation, a not-for-profit lender. With this purchase the legal designation of “Sponsor” was transferred from the Helmsley syndicate to PPC.
A $250 million dollar modernization initiative encompassing the entire Parkchester complex was commenced, which included many PPC, “Sponsor,” funded improvements.
Parkchester NORC Established
Modernization Program Completed
Parkchester’s multimillion dollar modernization initiative was completed, which included: new windows, new domestic hot and cold water supply lines and upgraded electrical systems in all 12,271 apartments, as well as extensive interior and exterior building restorations, rejuvenation of the on-site stores and shops, and full replacement of the North Ball Field.
The centralized Maintenance Service Dispatch Department was expanded to include the entire Parkchester complex.
Parkchester Celebrates 70 Years
Parkchester celebrated its 70th Anniversary in the spring of this year.
Public Safety Department
Parkchester creates a unified public safety department with the same standards of training as NYPD.