For so many decades Melrose had the reputation of being the wasteland of the Bronx – and now this has changed with the national spotlight being directed on our wonderful neighborhood yet again. This time, however, it is in the form of positive recognition. On February 24, 2010 the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) officially awarded the Melrose Commons section of Melrose the Stage II Silver LEED Certification in Neighborhood Development. This is the first time, in not just New York City, but the entire state of New York that a neighborhood has received such a distinction.
So what exactly is Silver LEED Certification for Neighorhood Development? According to the USBGC’s website:
“The LEED for Neighborhood Development Rating System integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism and green building into the first national system for neighborhood design. LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a development’s location and design meet accepted high levels of environmentally responsible, sustainable development. LEED for Neighborhood Development is a collaboration among USGBC, Congress for the New Urbanism, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.”
Since the beginning of our journey here on this blog, Welcome2Melrose has highlighted the fact that Melrose is the greenest neighborhood in the Bronx but little did we know that we would surpass not just the borough or the rest of the city but the entire state. But this should come to little surprise to us because after all back in October 2009 during the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Eltona we proudly watched on as that very morning the building received the highest LEED recognition – Silver LEED Certification and it was the first and ONLY affordable housing development to receive such recognition in the entire state of New York.
Courtlandt Corners, a 400 unit, mixed-income development on East 161st Street between Courtlandt and Melrose Avenues once completed according to Dattner Architects, will have, “brownfield redevelopment, stormwater management, lowflow plumbing fixtures, a high performing building envelope, energy efficient HVAC systems, EnergyStar appliances and lighting and attention to indoor environmental quality.” Two Blocks east of Courtland Corners is the massive Boricua Village development which includes Boricua College’s 14 story vertical campus for 2,000 students and 700 mixed-income apartments of which 399 have been set aside for middle-income families. This project features numerous green spaces and roof top terraces providing residences with much needed green space in Melrose.
Four blocks south of Boricua Village rises St Ann’s Terrace another massive development with 8 buildings with 600 units of mixed-income residences is underway. This development is on the site of the old Ebling Brewery where last year the old Ebling Brewery Caves were rediscovered. With multiple green roofs throughout the development and approximately 60% of the development to remain green, Jackson Development Group is on track with other competing developments in Melrose to provide sustainable housing. Of significant note for this development is the fact that it will also include more than 400 under ground parking spaces for residents – by far the largest allotment of parking in Melrose which will also alleviate vehicles driving around polluting the neighborhood in search of parking.
Via Verde (Spanish for “Green Way”), the approved but yet-to-break-ground development just a block south of St. Ann’s Terrace will contain a massive 35,000 square foot “…connected green rooftops of low-rise town homes, a mid-rise duplex building, and a 20-story tower will be used to harvest rainwater, grow fruits and vegetables, and provide open space for residents.”
Not too shabby for a neighborhood that just 20 years
ago was a forgotten land empty shells of buildings and rubble strewn lots. Oh and did we mention that Melrose is also home to the South Bronx Food Cooperative which offers, “a diversity of products with an emphasis on organic, minimally processed and healthful foods”? The landmarked Old Bronx Courthouse also sits right in the middle of this green community too!
A special thanks to our BoogieDowners who mentioned this in yesterday’s Round’em Up section of their blog!