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Parkchester, Bronx – The Place That Gentrification Forgot

But not for long. Slowly, development is creeping up on the once seemingly hopeless neighborhood.

By Jeff Vasishta November 2, 2016
Photo by Robert McConnell

If you want to buy a condo in New York for under $150,000 and still only be a subway ride away from mid-town Manhattan, you may only have one choice—Parkchester. For many years the Bronx neighborhood’s reputation wasn’t so good. We’re talking get-home-before-dark, not good. Poor, minority dominated and comprised largely of a complex of hulking apartment buildings with dark corners, and concrete warrens, it typified some of the worst stereotypes of the Bronx.  But as gentrification has touched all of New York, areas of the Bronx, like Mott Haven have seen property values and new residents increase. Parkchester, though is acting coy, flirting innocently with G-word without ever actually committing to a date.

Related: Ain’t Nothin’ Goin’ On But The Rent

That might be about to change. The Bronx Times reported earlier this year, that developers are circling Parkchester like birds of prey. They are waiting for the EPA to clear the area of groundwater contamination before large scale development can proceed. Last year The Real Deal reported on the acquisition of an entire city block in Parkchester for $15 million with the closing of 38 mom and pop businesses and a large mixed use development planned.

The New York Times has reported that house sales in the Bronx is outstripping all the other New York boroughs. With only 3.6 percent identifying themselves as white in the 2009-13 census and other races such as African Americans and Hispanics making up the bulk of the population, part of the allure of moving to area is the fact that there is still authentic culture there. Ironically, though, it’s that attraction, usually for creative whites, which signals the first wave of gentrification.

Parkchester, itself is a planned 129-acre community made up of 171 brick buildings. All 12,271 condos in the apartment complexes are available for purchase but many are used as rentals. With studios renting for $975 a month, one-bedrooms for $1,240, two-bedrooms for $1,595 and three-bedrooms for $1,890, prices are much lower than in many other NY boroughs.

NYYimby.com is generally quiet over new development in the Parkchester area. That may be in part because much of Parkchester is already occupied with apartment buildings and so the scope of new construction is minimal. Those that have filed for permits generally small multi-families such as the six story, seven-unit mixed use building at 1358 Odell St. The developer is Jakey Patwari of New Haven Co. of NY Inc. Ling Li is the architect of record.

Two four-story, eight-unit residential buildings are planned at 1360 Purdy St by Long Island based Galazy Tower Apartments Inc. N.Y.-based Michael DePasquale is the architect of record.

With available space minimal and rents still comparatively low don’t expect any glassy towers rising into the Bronx clouds anytime soon. It may be a frustration for developers but a blessing for the middle classes hoping to get a toe hold on the intimidating New York property ladder.

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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