Posts tagged with "Bronx":

Placeholder Alt Text

Plans for massive South Bronx affordable housing project move forward

A New York City Council committee has approved La Central, a major affordable housing development that heralds change for the South Bronx. Designed by New York–based FXFOWLE, La Central is a one-million-square-foot, 992-unit complex on city-owned vacant land in Melrose that will be built under the auspices of New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development in collaboration with private and nonprofit developers, as well as community-based social services organizations. The five-building complex, organized around a village green–type square, includes retail space, 160 units of supportive housing for homeless veterans and people with HIV/AIDS, plus a plethora of mixed-use projects: Television studios for Bronxnet, a new YMCA, and an urban farm "training garden" operated by GrowNYC. The area is alight with new development: La Central is adjacent to a Bjarke Ingels Group-designed police station, the future home of the 40th Precinct. At a September 8 meeting, the City Council Committee on Land Use approved five land use modifications to allow the development to move forward. The committee sanctioned the designation of an urban development action area for the parcels between Bergen and Brook Avenues; waived open space, yard, height, and setback requirements for the mixed-use development; allowed a C6-2 district to replace existing M1-1 and C4-4 districts; and applied Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) to the lots that will host apartments. The complex will be the largest so far to utilize MIH, which requires developers to provide a certain number of permanently affordable units and is a key part of Mayor de Blasio's plan to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing in the next decade. Despite ostensible support in the council, MIH has faced opposition in practice: Last month, the City Council defeated a privately developed MIH project in Inwood. Nevertheless, hopes for affordable housing development remain high at City Hall: “I believe La Central is a project that can truly help to move the South Bronx forward,” the mayor told the Daily News. The project is expected to be complete in 2017.
Placeholder Alt Text

NYC to rezone Jerome Avenue, signaling big changes for the Bronx

After scoring a win for his affordable housing policy with rezoning of East New York, Mayor de Blasio is setting his sights on the Bronx's Jerome Avenue. The Department of City Planning (DCP) released preliminary documents that outline plans to rezone a 73-block area of the southwest Bronx. The Special Jerome Avenue District is centered on its namesake street, the area's bustling commercial spine that teems with mom-and-pop auto body shops beneath the steel canopy of the 4 train. The rezoning would allow for large mixed-use residential buildings on the avenue, which is now zoned C8-3, M1-2, C4- 4, R7-1, R8 C-83, commercial designations that includes hotels, office space, and industrial uses like warehouses and auto shops. The entire area would be rezoned R7, R8, R9 (high-density residential); C4-4D (a medium-density commercial district with an R8A equivalent that can have 7.2 FAR in areas zoned for Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH); and topped off with C2-4 commercial overlays. The rezoning would indeed apply MIH, part of the mayor's plan to guarantee affordable housing as a condition of market-rate residential development, to almost all of the new district. Near the district's southern boundary, around McClellan Avenue, towers could rise up to 145 feet, YIMBY reports. At Tremont and Burnside avenues, around the northern end of the district, new buildings could be up to 120 feet tall; near West 170th street and all along Jerome, buildings could be 80 to 100 feet in height. The height increases are tied to setbacks that should allow light and air onto Jerome, which can grow forebodingly dark at night because of the elevated train. (Perhaps the city will crib from the Design Trust for Public Space's Under the Elevated, a project to revitalize 700 miles of public space that lies beneath elevated infrastructure.) The rezoning also includes promises to enhance parks and public spaces in the neighborhoods. In all, the DCP estimates that the rezoning will allow 72,273 square feet of community space, 35,575 square feet of commercial or retail space, and 3,250 new apartments. When the rezoning was proposed back in March 2015, residents worried it would be the doomsday toll for the auto shops, which offer skilled, good-paying jobs to a largely Latino workforce. The community's concerns are justified: The DCP estimates that 47,795 square feet of industrial space and 98,002 square feet of shop space will be eliminated. As a result, over 100 jobs will be lost. New residents would be more affluent than current ones, as measured by their expected average incomes. The city promises to do another study to analyze the impending displacement of auto shops, although there's no word on whether there will be an analogous study on the possibility of residential displacement. There's plenty of time to deliberate, protest, and offer feedback on the Special Jerome Avenue District plan, though. It must pass through the lengthy public approvals process, which includes meetings with community boards, the borough president's office, the City Planning Commission, and finally the City Council. The first public meeting, where DCP officials will be on hand to answer questions from the public, is scheduled for September 29 at the (Stanford White–designed) Gould Memorial Library Auditorium at Bronx Community College.
Placeholder Alt Text

Governor Cuomo announces plan for $20 million food hub to support NYS agriculture at Hunts Point

Yesterday Governor Andrew Cuomo served up plans for a food safety program and a new $20 million Greenmarket Regional Food Hub in Hunts Point, the Bronx. The program, New York State Grown & Certified, is a response to spurious "organic" and "natural" food labelling that does more to market food than show the conditions under which it was produced. New York State Grown & Certified will tout farmers who meet state standards for sustainability and food safety, promoting their foodstuffs by brokering relationships between certified farmers and buyers like the city's Department of Education. "You go into a store now, everything has marketing on it that suggests that it is natural or that it is healthy," Cuomo told DNAinfo. "Cage-Free Eggs. Chickens That Roam the Landscape Eggs. Chickens That Have Never Seen a Cage, Happy Chicken Eggs." The state will put $15 million towards the total cost of the 120,000-square-foot food hub, which will include processing facilities and a farmer's market. The state estimates that the project will create 95 permanent jobs and support more than 100 New York State Grown & Certified participants. Empire State Development president, CEO & commissioner Howard Zemsky outlined the benefits of the hub in a press release: “The new Greenmarket Regional Food Hub will not only increase access to fresh, healthy foods in NYC’s underserved neighborhoods, it will create new jobs and provide a great opportunity for our hardworking farmers to distribute local produce and expand their businesses throughout New York State.” While Hunts Point Cooperative Market has always been the center of the region's food distribution system, food is becoming a driver of economic development in the surrounding neighborhoods. Keith Rubenstein’s Somerset Partners announced plans for Bruckner Market, a food hall and beer garden, last month. There are no renderings of the project available at this time.
Placeholder Alt Text

Move over, Chelsea: Could the South Bronx become New York’s gourmet market mecca?

Keith Rubenstein's Somerset Partners, the developer behind last year's now-infamous "Bronx is Burning" party, closed yesterday on the $47.5 million sale of a 16,000-square-foot building in Mott Haven that he thinks will become the next Chelsea Market. Rubenstein told The Real Deal that he's been scouting the South Bronx property for a while, as it will complement the residential complex he's building with the Chetrit Group across Bruckner Boulevard. That project, six 25-story residential structures abutting the Harlem River, should break ground in about one month. Depending on your political orientation, the impeding Bruckner Market will have you giddy or gagging. The building, a 1930s warehouse, could enlarge its footprint up to 30,000 square feet to host food kiosks, restaurants, produce vendors, and possibly a microbrewery with a beer garden. Rubenstein estimates that it should be complete in the next 12 to 18 months. This is not the first, or last, food venture planned for the area. To brand the area effectively for potential tenants and investors, Somerset Group has backed a hip coffee shop and an Italian restaurant close to their towers. Others are riding the wave: Acclaimed chef Massimo Bottura announced this week that he's working on a Bronx dining hall with Robert De Niro that serves meals made from leftover ingredients. Just north, Youngwoo & Associates is developing the disused Bronx General Post Office into a mixed-use space with dining options. Will the neighborhood's expanded dining options sate the throngs of museum-goers who will surely flock to Mónica Ponce de León's addition to the Bronx Musuem of Arts, or herald a heretofore unprecedented displacement of local businesses and residents? Or both? At least there will be spaces to ponder the South Bronx's changes over a sandwich.
Placeholder Alt Text

154-unit supportive housing project by Alexander Gorlin Architects opens up in the Bronx

Yesterday non-profit firm Breaking Ground celebrated the opening of 1191 Boston Road, a project in the Bronx for formerly homeless New Yorkers, high users of Medicaid, seniors, and low-income adults. The scheme was financed by the New York State Medicaid Redesign Team which uses housing solutions to reduce healthcare costs. Costing $47 million and accommodating 154 units, the design came from Manhattan-based Alexander Gorlin Architects. The firm has worked with Breaking Ground before with another project in the Bronx. Building on that project's success (it won a Residential Architect award in 2014) the firm has continued to design supportive housing.  Social services are central to the building's programming: the ground floor includes a job center, educational facilities, and a medical center. "By providing stable, affordable housing with on-site support, residents will live a better quality of life, and reduce costly emergency room visits," Breaking Ground said in a press release.

Speaking with The Architect's Newspaper, Alexander Gorlin said that zoning was a "priority" for the project. To facilitate the number of units that he and Breaking Ground wanted to create, the building had to be stepped back from the street. Its "animated facade" features an array of colors set against gray brickwork.

Other amenities offered in the building include a roof terrace, computer lab, bike storage facilities, fitness room, garden, and an on-site laundry area. On the ground floor, an undulating array of fiberboard panels can be found on the ceiling, a nod to the schist rock which used to found in the area.

Placeholder Alt Text

Renderings revealed for the Bronx’s Universal Hip-Hop Museum

New renderings by Mike Ford (a.k.a. the Hip-Hop Architect) of BrandNu Design depict the Universal Hip-Hop Museum (UHHM) that could grace the Bronx in the very near future. Although the idea for the museum has been germinating for a few years, this is the first time renderings are available for a specific site. The renderings depict a museum—complete with interactive exhibitions and a screening room—at the site of the Bronx Borough Courthouse, a disused neoclassical 1930s municipal building. The courthouse plaza features an amphitheater centered around a sculpture. As the birthplace of hip-hop, the Bronx is a natural choice for the UHHM, which would be the first standalone museum devoted to the genre, its history, heritage, and the culture the music nurtures. The museum was originally intended as one point in the Kingsbridge Armory redevelopment plan, Ford told Curbed. The courthouse became the site at the urging of state assemblyman Michael Blake, who thought that the museum would be a great focal point for his district. With support from hip-hop pioneers like Ice T. and Kurtis Blow, Ford teamed up with Autodesk for a three-day design charette with industry leaders, locals, students, and program partners to craft a preliminary vision of the museum Right now, the UHHM is speaking with state and local officials to determine how much funding could be available for the museum. The Bronx is one of the poorest counties in the state, and the museum could be a vital source of jobs for the borough. Stakeholders are discussing the possibility of negotiating a long term lease of the courthouse for the museum.  
Placeholder Alt Text

Groundbreaking for Bronx mixed-use affordable housing development

Before the Memorial Day weekend, city officials posed with shovels for the groundbreaking of Tremont Renaissance, a long-planned affordable housing development in East Tremont, the Bronx. The groundbreaking for the 265-unit, mixed income structure at Webster and East Tremont avenues is the latest spate of affordable housing development in the northernmost borough. The project is part of de Blasio's plan to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next ten years: A little less than half of the apartments will be reserved for low-income families, with the rental floor for three-bedrooms set at $1,224 per month. Units for middle-income households will be available to those making up to $97,920 for a family of three. The 12-story building will include 40,000 square feet of street-level retail, as well as a fitness center, play space for children, an internet lounge, a yoga/dance studio, and landscaped roof terraces. The site was formerly home to a 1930s bank, and the bank's facade will be incorporated into the building's lobby. “Even though thousands of new housing units have been built in the Bronx, our community board, and other community districts remain with a shortage of affordable rental housing and quality retail space,” noted Ivine Galarza, district manager of Community Board 6, in a statement. “This development will definitely stand out as a good example of creating housing that is affordable for all types of families in the heart of our borough.” Bronx–based Mastermind Development is behind the $117.7 million project, in collaboration with the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) and Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) One block over, Mastermind is also developing adjacent 4215 Park Avenue, a 256-unit, mixed-use development, as part of a suite of parcels it owns in the neighborhood. Over 60 of the units in this development will be categorized as Inclusionary Housing.
Placeholder Alt Text

Monica Ponce de Leon to design new wing of the Bronx Museum of the Arts

The Bronx Museum of the Arts has just announced that Monica Ponce de Leon, co-curator of the 2016 Venice Biennale, will design the first phase of an expansion to its facility on the Grand Concourse. The contemporary art museum, founded in 1971, has seen attendance quadruple in recent years, and has added 1,300 new members through the city's free IDNYC program since 2015: Ponce de Leon's upgrade will add space for programming and exhibitions, improve connection with the streetscape, and allow the museum to broaden its community engagement. The Bronx Museum participated in the first American museum collaboration with Cuba in over 50 years and offers programming to at-risk, area youth. Ponce de Leon, who designs through Monica Ponce de Leon Studio and serves as the dean of Princeton University School of Architecture, was selected in 2013 though the NYC Department of Design and Construction's (DDC) Design and Construction Excellence program (DC+E) to redesign the South Wing Atrium as a "Gallery Cube." The atrium today, a little used space at the corner of the Grand Concourse and East 165th Street, will be reconfigured  both as an energy-efficient "cube" for year-round programming and as a connection between the South Wing, a deconsecrated synagogue, and the Arquitectonica–designed North Wing. “The Bronx Museum of the Arts explores how artistic expression is shaped by the urban experience and cultural interactions, and it is important that its building conveys openness to its physical context, the neighborhood, and the public,” observed Ponce de Leon in a statement. “The creative ferment at The Bronx Museum of the Arts is lively, but constrained within a facility that has evolved incrementally over time without an overarching plan. By uniting these elements to create a new and cohesive whole, and opening the building’s form, this design will weave together the street, visitors, neighbors, and passersby in a new dynamic.” The project is funded through the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) and the Department of Cultural Affairs. Total construction costs for this first phase are estimated at $15 million. The Mayor’s Office, the City Council, and the Office of the Bronx Borough President have already allocated around $6.9 million to the Ponce de Leon–designed phase, and the museum is in the midst of a capital campaign to raise and additional $10 million for its endowment. Construction is expected to begin this year and wrap in 2020. Subsequent phases of the project are underway but detail are unconfirmed. The Bronx Museum did say it plans to activate underutilized spaces, transform vacant lots into sculpture gardens, and create a performance and events space. 
Placeholder Alt Text

COOKFOX–designed Bronx affordable housing with social mission—and stellar views—tops off

High on a hill in the West Bronx, the view from the top of COOKFOX's latest building plays tricks on the Manhattan skyline: One World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, and 432 Park Avenue seem to stand next to each other. Next year, thanks to a nonprofit developer, hundreds of lucky residents will get to take in the view. On Tuesday, the Bronx's latest affordable housing development for low-income and formerly homeless individuals and families topped off. The homeless services organization Breaking Ground (formerly Common Ground) partnered with New York City–based COOKFOX to design Park House and Webster Residence, twin structures that provide supportive housing with on-site social services and community space that complement the residences. Citywide, Breaking Ground operates two transitional houses (390 units) and 2,899 units of permanent supportive housing. The new Bronx apartments offer "a sense of permanence, a sense of belonging to the streetscape," explained Rick Cook, founding principal. Both buildings in this latest development, set between wide Park and Webster avenues, incorporate biophilic design, one of COOKFOX's guiding practices. The approximately 102,000- (Webster) and 247,000-square-foot (Park) structures are arranged around a residents-only courtyard; common areas are oriented towards green space. The warm brick and stone facade references the neighborhood's grand turn-of-the-century apartment homes. Recessed brickwork adds visual interest to the streetwall; up top, residents can access a green roof on the Webster Residence. The building, Cook noted, qualifies for Zone Green benefits, which allows additional floor area to be used for affordable housing. All interior treatments are low- or non-VOC, while  large windows take allow for ample natural light. The housing, Brenda Rosen, president and CEO of Breaking Ground, responds to community needs for two and three bedroom apartments. The most frequent questions she fields about the project are "How do I apply, and when?"
Placeholder Alt Text

New York armory could one day be home to massive ice hockey complex

The Knightsbridge Armory in the Bronx, owned by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) has been in limbo for some years now. Back in 2012, developers battled over the space becoming a Latin-infused marketplace or an ice skating rink backed by former Rangers captain Mark Messier and his firm, Kingsbridge National Ice Center. Now, Messier's proposal seems to have gained traction as the NYCEDC has given Messier and co. a month to show it has the $138 million required for the first phase of the project. Originally constructed in 1917, the Armory was built  to house a regiment of New York’s National Guard. If Messier's plan is realized, the Armory would be transformed into a 750,000-square-foot ice complex, complete with nine rinks, a 5,000-capacity arena, community center and retail area. Rinks would be used for all forms of ice skating, curling and cater for those with disabilities. In total, the scheme is touted to cost $350 million, however, funding remains to be an issue after former State Senator Dean Skelos was convicted for corruption. Prior to this, Skelos had pledged all the money to come from a fund. Despite the financial issues, the scheme has already been approved by the New York City council. Initially put forward in 2012, the arena would be used to host international ice hockey events, fitting considering it's listed on the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places and is an official New York City Landmark. Behind the project are Canadian firm BBB Architects. Coincidentally, Messier himself is also Canadian. Speaking to Politico New York, William Brewer, a partner at Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors spoke of the projects progress. "Delivery of the lease is all that remains before Kingsbridge can move forward with construction," he said. Seven years ago, Mayor Michael Bloomberg put forward the idea of the Armory being turned into a mall, however City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz both opposed it. According to Curbed New York, Diaz supports the ice center plan.  
Placeholder Alt Text

Mayor de Blasio’s $2.75-per-ride ferry service to begin summer 2017

Expanding on the East River Ferry system, Mayor de Blasio will see his $55 million plan for a five borough ferry network come to fruition summer 2017.  At $2.75-a-ride, the system will be managed and operated by a California company, Hornblower, that has a proven track record in the industry, having run services in New York for ten years. Currently, the ferry caters to Manhattan residents and those on the shoreline between DUMBO, Brooklyn and Long Island City, Queens. The network will be expanded to escort people to Astoria, Queens; Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn; and the Rockaways, Queens. Come 2018, Soundview will service the Upper and Lower East Side. Another proposal looks to extend the service further to Staten and Coney Island, though no completion date has yet been penned in. The cost of a ferry trip will align with the price of a single subway ride. Bicycles may be carried on for an extra dollar. This is less than half of what it costs for a standard weekend ferry fare at the moment. Such a pricing scheme is no accident, either, as de Blasio has his eyes on integrating the network with the rest of the MTA system. According to de Blasio, commuters will be able to enjoy the "fresh air, harbor views, and a fast ride on the open water" on the 20-minute journey between Astoria and Manhattan's East 34th Street, as well as being able to make the most of the ferry on the hour-long commute between the Rockaways and Wall Street. “Today I applaud Mayor de Blasio for his $55 million capital commitment to a 5-borough ferry system and declaring that New York City’s waterfront will be open for all. The ripple effect from this service will be felt throughout the entire city from Bay Ridge to Bayside; from Staten Island to Soundview,” said Councilman Vincent Gentile. “Access to a true 5-borough ferry system will be just another jewel to add to our crown here in southwest Brooklyn, one that will be a boon to small businesses and real estate alike.”
Placeholder Alt Text

Fordham Plaza, one of New York’s busiest transit hubs, is now one of the city’s most pedestrian-friendly

The NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) and the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) recently unveiled the redesigned, ultra pedestrian-friendly Fordham Plaza. Vision Zero's mandate to reduce traffic-related injuries and fatalities guided the $34 million renovation of the north Bronx transit hub. Bounded by Webster Avenue, East Fordham Road, and East 189th Street, the Grimshaw Architects–designed Fordham Plaza now boasts fresh plantings, as well as stationary and movable seating elements to provide a respite for the nearly 80,000 pedestrians per day that travel along Fordham Road. True to the plan released in 2014, the plaza features a new market canopy, kiosks, a cafe, and—rare for New York—a public toilet. The redesign was carried out in collaboration with the NYC Plaza Program, a NYC DOT program that has spearheaded the creation of 69 plazas, 16 of which are in development or currently under construction. A 40 percent reduction in asphalt created more space, and more safety, for pedestrians at Fordham Plaza. The plaza now sports shorter pedestrian crosswalks, "direct" crosswalks that discourage jaywalking, and a 25 percent increase in pedestrian-only space. These interventions should improve access to Fordham University’s Rose Hill Campus, right across the street. Fordham Plaza primary program is transit: 12 local and express bus lines, as well as the fourth-busiest Metro-North station. Bus stops were redesigned to improve pick up, drop off, and the loop-around, especially around East 189th Street and Webster Avenue, that guides buses off towards Westchester County, Manhattan, and all over the Bronx. OneNYC Plaza Equity Program will provide the Fordham Road BID with funding to maintain the plaza. $10 million came from a U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER grant, and $2 million from the state Department of Transportation.