THE AREA along 125th Street in East Harlem, burdened with a series of derelict vacant lots and a storage building, didn’t look like a viable site for a mixed-used project, but two New York City–based companies— Jonathan Rose Cos. and Lettire Construction Corp. —saw its immense potential. The site was within five blocks of a subway line and a local railroad station.

“East Harlem is an amazing neighborhood," says Jonathan Rose, president of Jonathan Rose Cos. “It’s literally the gateway to Manhattan."

Rose, known for his green building prowess, planned the 12-story, 185-unit Tapestry at this key spot. The building, which would serve as a model for future development on the 125th Street Corridor, would have 8,300 square feet of retail and residents with a mix of incomes (50 percent market-rate, 30 percent at 130 percent of area median income [AMI], and 20 percent at 40 percent and 50 percent of AMI).

Tapestry, Harlem’s first LEED Gold–certified residential mixed-use building, used $500,000 in grants from affordable housing green building program Enterprise Green Communities and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to add features such as green roofs and a rainwater- harvesting system. Water-conserving toilets and other low-flow fixtures further minimize water use. Rose and Lettire also installed high- efficiency mechanical systems, appliances, and fixtures and a highly insulated building envelope to improve the structure’s overall energy efficiency by an estimated 20 percent compared with typical multifamily buildings. Each unit is also naturally ventilated and was constructed using low- or no-VOC finishes and formaldehyde-free wood products.

Rose didn’t skimp on the architecture, either, enlisting MHG Architects and Pei Cobb Freed & Partners to provide a structure that preserves existing view corridors and integrates seamlessly into East Harlem’s urban fabric. “Good design doesn’t cost more,” Rose says. “It just takes better attention."