Details Emerge On ‘La Central’ In Melrose As Developers Visit CB1; Residents Want To See Co-op or Condo Component


Last night, representatives from the development team of La Central, BRP Development Corporation, Hudson Companies Inc., Common Ground, Comunilife, The Kretchmer Companies, and the YMCA, made their first presentation to Community Board 1 who’s very offices are behind the proposed development site.

The 985 unit mixed income, mixed use development will be constructed in 2 phases with the first phase hopefully beginning in the summer of 2015 and the second phase the following summer in 2016.

Hudson Companies said that this project will bring significant economic impact during construction and after the 1,169,000 square foot La Central is built.

An estimated 2,158 construction jobs will be needed to complete this project and projected 452 permanent jobs are estimated to be created once the retail spaces are occupied including 70 jobs which the YMCA will need.

Area of detail

As Melrose already knows through the dozens of New developments built here in the last 5 years, these construction jobs are a boon to the local mom and pop shops who feed these workers or provide other services.

Phase I

The first phase, which will include the construction of the southernmost lot abutting the 2 and 5 subway line will consist of 650 units of mixed income housing, the 48,000 YMCA, as well as the 9,000 foot rooftop farm which will be operated by GrowNYC.

The rooftop farm will have its separate elevator so that it’s accessible to the public and GrowNYC will not only grow produce for use at a farmer’s market right at the HUB but will also use it as an educational space for all ages.

The YMCA, which the developers identified as the most important component to construct so that the development will attract the necessary foot traffic and retailers, will be a massive 48,000 Square foot facility. It will contain two swimming pools, basketball courts and a host of other services for the neighborhood. Membership to the Y will be income-based.

Aerial view of the proposed development, La Central

In the northern lot, 2 other buildings will be constructed during this initial phase bringing a total of 784,000 square feet of residential and retail space.

Hudson Companies stressed the importance of phase 1 as it will turn the stretch of Westchester Avenue between Brook and Bergen into a retail corridor that is now just empty land and a parking lot.

Phase II

The second phase (consisting of 385,000 square feet) will include the last two buildings in the 5 building development including the 25 story northern tower along with the Astronomy lab and telescope, the northern triangle Park which they envision as a skate park, and all the landscaping that will go along with it.

Amenities and Sustainable Components

50% of each rooftop will be dedicated green space for residents which and the other half will be solar panels. Along with generators, La Central will be producing approximately 50% of its own energy.

Unit Breakdown

The 985 units are currently configured as follows:

82 studios
306 1 bed
305 2 bed
102 3 bed
30 4 bedroom units.

As you can see, there is a considerable number of 3 bedroom units and 30 4 bedroom apartments. Hudson Companies has studied the area and has found a need for large apartments to accommodate larger families which are found in our district.

None of the above is set in stone as developments often change due to these ongoing meetings with the community board and residents.

Community Board Concerns

Several CB1 members, including Ms Goodwin, expressed dismay at the 63 units set aside for senior citizens. As a senior citizen herself, she said that she is tired of developers coming to our district and building senior developments or units that are strictly studio apartments.

Goodwin, as well as another member, expressed that many seniors in the district have home attendants many of which are 24 hours so studio units are not desirable in these circumstances.

Another CB1 member was concerned of Comunilife having a 10,000 foot Mental Wellness Clinic in the development adding yet another such facility in our district.

Many board members and residents agreed and echoed this concern citing that we have been a dumping ground for such facilities.

No one is against the work that they provide but more so just against of having another one in our backyard.

Home Ownership Concerns

Many residents, while accepting of the project and expressing joy at the prospect of having this built in the neighborhood expressed concern that unlike Via Verde, La Central will have no opportunities for home ownership such as Co-ops or Condos.

Many residents point to the success of Via Verde in mixing rental units with cooperative apartments and the fact that the project sold out.

Arturo V. Bárcenas, recently commented on Welcome2TheBronx saying,” The lack of ownership option does not serve the neighborhood well. There needs to be a mix of affordable rental apartments, and co-op units, which are badly needed in the area”

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After reviewing this and many developments in our neighborhood, affordable coops and condos are definitely something that should be considered for at least 10% of the units.

What do you think? Take the survey above or comment below.

As more and more aspects of the development become available, we will continue to keep you posted.

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Ed García Conde

Ed García Conde is a life-long Bronxite who spends his time documenting the people, places, and things that make the borough a special place in the hopes of dispelling the negative stereotypes associated with The Bronx. His writings are often cited by mainstream media and is often consulted for his expertise on the borough's rich history.