New Developments: The Bronx is Booming
Though it has been overlooked for decades, the Bronx is shaping up to be the next frontier in NYC real estate development. With land costing just $50 per foot (compared to $638 in Manhattan, $233 in Brooklyn, and $168 in Queens), the Bronx is an appealing spot for developers who have been priced out of other boroughs or who see the appeal in neighborhoods like Mott Haven which are reminiscent of Bushwick and close to the city. Of the $1.2 billion invested in Bronx real estate last year, $788 million of that will go toward residential projects. The Bronx will see more than a million square feet of residential and hotel space over the coming years. Let’s take a look at some of the recent developments in the borough, and what we can expect in the future.
704 Brook Avenue
This 1.5 acre site in the Melrose neighborhood opened in 2012, bringing 151 rental units and 71 co-ops, all affordable to low-income households. Co-developed by Phipps Houses and Jonathan Rose Companies, Via Verde meets LEED standards and includes a green roof, a community garden, and is close to many mass transit lines. Via Verde has brought sustainable living to low-income families in the Bronx – here’s hoping we see more of this in the borough’s future!
Randall’s Island Connector
As part of a larger project to bring greenspace and recreational area to the Bronx waterfront, the Randall’s Island Connector provides pedestrians and cyclists access to the 400 acres of recreational amenities on Randall’s Island, which was previously only accessible from the Bronx by car. The quarter mile long pathway opened earlier in November, and provides almost 100,000 Bronx residents with much-needed parkland.
Bronx Post Place
558 Grand Concourse
Youngwoo & Associates bought the Bronx General Post Office in 2014 and plans to turn the 175,000 square foot building on the Grand Concourse into “a crossroads for community, commerce, and culture.” Scheduled to open in 2017, the redevelopment will be called Bronx Post Place and will include retail space, restaurants, and office space for local businesses and entrepreneurs.
Saint Anns Avenue & East 132nd Street
Online grocer FreshDirect will move their headquarters from Long Island City to the Bronx once they construct their 500,000 square foot facility in Mott Haven. In a deal reached with former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, FreshDirect will create 1,000 new jobs in exchange for subsidies from the city. FreshDirect broke ground in 2014 and the site is scheduled for completion in 2016.
430 Westchester Avenue
This mega development from Hudson, Inc will bring 992 affordable apartments across five buildings to the South Bronx. Included in the plans are a rooftop farm, over 600,000 watts of solar panels, a 40,000 square foot YMCA, and plenty of outdoor space for tenants. The development is expected to break ground in Spring 2016 and should be ready for occupancy by mid-2018.
2401 Third Avenue / 101 Lincoln Avenue
Developer Chetrit Group, previously the lead investor of a group that purchased Chicago’s Sears Tower in 2004, bought this 1.5 acre site in Port Morris this March. Plans for 101 Lincoln Avenue include six residential towers averaging 25 stories in height. The site currently contains a one-story warehouse but plans for the site include 1.2 million square feet across six 25-story residential towers.
St. Augustine Apartments
1183 Franklin Avenue
Magnusson Architecture and Planning is designing this 12-story residential building on the site of a former parochial school, after a batch of Roman Catholic Church parish closings throughout the city. The affordable housing development will have 112 rental units, and could potentially contain green roofs on the setbacks along with a photovoltaic solar array on top of the building.
Elton Avenue and East 162nd Street
WHEDco and Blue Sea Development Company are expected to break ground on their 361,600 square foot mixed-use development in Melrose Commons this year. Bronx Commons will include 227 affordable housing units, live/work space for elder musicians, a community performance and event space, a rooftop farm, retail space, and green recreational space. A select amount of residential units will be set aside for artists, and the development will be designed by Rogers Marvel Architects.
29 West Kingsbridge Road
After Related’s proposal for a massive shopping center was voted down, NHL player Mark Messier and Olympic figure skater Sarah Hughes were approved to build the world’s largest indoor ice rink in 2013. They locked down a 99-year lease in October 2014, and hope to bring educational programming to the facility.
Special Harlem River Waterfront District
Exterior Street and 138th Street
This long-awaited project could bring 4,000 apartments, 1.5 million square feet of commercial space, and 500,000 square feet of community facility space to the Harlem River waterfront. Non-profit SoBRO released a feasibility study last year that said it would cost $500 million to develop the waterfront, though Welcome2theBronx argues the cost would likely be closer to $5 billion. Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hopes the development will be akin to Brooklyn Bridge Park, bringing commerce and waterfront access to the South Bronx.
It’s encouraging to see that many of these developments include plans for green roofs, urban farms, and sustainable living for affordable and market-rate units alike. Though rental prices and land costs are incredibly low in the Bronx right now, I don’t expect it to stay this way for long. Let me know if you’re interested in investing in this up-and-coming borough.