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The Bronx’s La Central Development Gets The Green Light From The City

With nearly 1000 new units, a stunning new sports facility, and noted green credentials, La Central fits perfectly into a gentrification model.

By Jeff Vasishta November 28, 2016
Rendering courtesy of FXFOWLE architects

La Central, a massive five-building, 992-unit affordable housing development in the Bronx with sports facilities and the type of green credentials that would immediately disqualify it from a Trump condo complex, has been green lit by New York City Council. Talk of massive Bronx apartment buildings doesn’t historically conjure pleasant images. Hulking, beat-up and crime-ridden, they are the kind of New York cliché the modern city has been keen to escape. The newest development, if the renderings are anything to go by, are a far cry from all that.

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As well as residential accommodation, there will be a 50,000-square foot YMCA, a 10,000-square foot television studio for BronxNet, an astronomy lab & observation deck operated by the Bronx High School of Science, and a skate park. Also included are 30,000 square feet of community space and over 45,000 square feet of new retail space. Green rooftops will be fitted with 600,000 watts of solar power reducing energy costs from the local grid by 50 percent, according to Hudson, the developer. Final completion is anticipated in early 2019 with co-developers comprising The BRP Companies, ELH-TKC LLC, The Related Companies, Common Ground, Comunilife, and the YMCA of Greater New York. According to welcome2thebronx.com, La Central is one of the biggest mixed residential and commercial developments coming to the Bronx.

Usually, talk of large scale development packed with amenities is accompanied by talk of gentrification. It seems in this case it might be unfounded. In order to get this passed, the developers appear to have made every effort to account for the local community’s needs. The building is one of the first which will include Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH), a mandate that a number of units must be set aside as permanently affordable. In this case, that number is to be decided an option chosen by the developer. Approximately 160 units will be set aside for older adults living with HIV/AIDS and veterans with mental illness while providing onsite support via Communilife.

While recognizing this welcome2thebronx.com noted that the fact that the building is 100 percent rental and has no units for sale which will, they say, ultimately do nothing to stabilize the community as was done at the nearby Via Verde.  It also said that “the residents who live in the Community Board will not quality for these apartments—even though 50 percent of these units will be set aside with a preference for those residents.” It added. “Without home ownership, the community has very little defense against encroaching gentrification.”

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Investment in the Bronx is higher than it’s ever been. in 2015, over $1 billion was spent in South Bronx neighborhoods like Mott Haven and Melrose—due, in part, to La Central, according to a report from the Bronx Borough President’s Office. When the investment numbers were announced, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. stated:

“As we continue to attract new investors and new interest in our borough, my office will continue our efforts to ensure that the ongoing revitalization of The Bronx works for everyone.” Let’s hope he’s right.

Jeff Vasishta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Vasishta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Vasishta

Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.

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