AND believes that HERITAGE preservation is an indispensable component of a holistic community development strategy.
Most our buildings in our portfolio date to the early 20th century. These buildings, with regular investment and renewal, have entered into the 21st century continuing to provide affordable housing to low- and moderate-income Northern Manhattan residents.
We have increased our advocacy on behalf of threatened historic properties across Northern Manhattan. With our partners in Landmark East Harlem, we have had significant success in raising awareness about the rich tapestry of historic resources in East Harlem.
Since late 2017, our work has contributed to the LPC   designation of three new individual landmarks in East Harlem and the official National Register Listing of the first East Harlem Historic district, encompassing over 650 properties. Property owners within it are now eligible for federal and state historic rehabilitation tax credits. Work is currently underway for two more proposed survey areas: East Harlem South/El Barrio HD and East-Central Harlem HD. 
With our Ascendant Heritage  project, we restored 359 historic apartments + six commercial spaces across 21 buildings in our portfolio. In August 2021, Affordable Housing Finance Magazine picked Ascendant Heritage for overall Best in Preservation. The project was featured in their July/August 2021 issue:
AHF Magazine Best in Preservation Feature
Beyond the rehabilitation of our own portfolio, we have expanded our historic preservation work through our participation in the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan, the 126th Street Bus Depot Task Force (Harlem African Burial Ground Memorial and Mixed-Use Project), and becoming the fiscal sponsor and member of the  Landmark East Harlem coalition. 

Community Preservation Work 

AND Preservation Work: 2016-Present
In the spring of 2016, AND joined a new East Harlem preservation coalition called Landmark East Harlem (LEH) that had begun work on the first-ever East Harlem Intensive level historic resource survey project with preservation consultant Tony Robins. In early 2016, LEH was awarded a grant from Preserve New York, a program of the Preservation League of NYS (PLNYS) and New York State Council on the Arts, to undertake an intensive-level historic resource survey encompassing a portion of central East Harlem. By 2017, AND took on fiscal sponsorship of LEH and secured additional funding for the survey project from the New York Landmarks Conservancy In 2019, after securing additional grant funding from PLNYS, LEH started work on a historic resource survey of East-Central Harlem. SHPO determined historic district eligibility from the findings in this survey in 2020. In 2021, with more funding awarded from PLNYS, LEH began work on an East Harlem South/El Barrio survey of the southern portion of East Harlem. LEH will be presenting details about both surveys to the community, local stakeholders, and property owners in 2022. Once outreach is complete, our work could result in at least two more East Harlem historic districts being proposed for SHPO’s consideration.
State/National Register Listing vs Landmark Preservation Commission Designation
To be listed on the  State and National Register, a district must possess a significant concentration, linkage, or continuity of sites, buildings, structures, or objects united historically or aesthetically by a plan or physical development . The National Park Service (NPS) works in conjunction with the NY State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) to determine eligibility. These criteria are similar to those for historic districts designated by the  New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). The difference is that listing on the State and National Registers is honorary and  does not impose any burdens on property owners. LPC designation, on the other hand, does require property owners to meet LPC standards  when making additions or renovations and does not allow property owners to demolish their buildings  except under rare circumstances.

East Harlem Historic Survey Reports

East Harlem Intensive Level Survey
LEH secured grant funding from the Preservation League of New York State and The New York Landmarks Conservancy to hire a preservation consultant who conducted an intensive survey of the proposed district. The consultant determined boundaries and identified defining features and structures of significant architectural importance to make the case for historic district listing.
South East Harlem / El Barrio Reconnaissance Survey
The region of Southern East Harlem beginning north of East 96th Street represents a multi-dimensional history of land development, class, immigration, self-determination, and community. Not unlike the history of many other Manhattan neighborhoods, this region commonly referred to as El Barrio is unique in that it remains home to a predominantly working-class and multi-ethnic population while continuing to express its rich history regarding critical lessons to be learned from the past. This survey helped further determine that it is the cultural history of El Barrio that is central to the community’s identity and its significance. Research was driven by pertinent social themes rather than architectural expression. Community surveys and conversations characterized the neighborhood using words such as “community, culture, family, food, and home” pointing to core values of the region. Through discussions with community members and leaders, the survey’s author, Marissa Marvelli remarked that there was “unanimous agreement that [El Barrio] is nationally significant as the cradle of the Puerto Rican diaspora.” Underscoring this sentiment were the remarks of other individuals who stated that East Harlem was historically the “anchor place of the first and largest Latinx migrant/immigrant wave to the United States.” This fact demonstrates the importance of this work not only to Manhattan but to the state of New York and the United States.
East Central Harlem Reconnaissance Historic Resource Survey
In 2019, after securing additional grant funding from PLNYS, AND hired a consultant to start work on a historic resource survey of East-Central Harlem. SHPO determined historic district eligibility from the findings in this survey in 2020. 
Ascendant Neighborhood Development is the 501.c3 fiscal sponsor of Landmark East Harlem (LEH). LEH was formed to give the community of East Harlem an ongoing voice in how our neighborhood is developed and to support development that preserves the unique cultural and historical significance of the neighborhood. Landmark East Harlem believes that historic preservation is an indispensable component of a holistic community development strategy. Since 2019, AND has funded all staffing, grant management, and preservation consultants for LEH and has lead the RFE application process and advocated with neighborhood preservation partners.