Update: Plans For Melrose Development on 161st Street FINALLY Filed After 4 Years Since First Announced

Rendering of  Site C by MAP Architects
Rendering of Site C by MAP Architects

Our friends over at YIMBY have revealed plans filed for one of the last remaining tracts of land in the Melrose Commons redevelopment area to be developed by Briarwood and Phipps Housing in conjunction with The Bridge.  The development has changed considerably since it was first announced 4 years ago and probably the most significant change, besides the renderings, is that it will contain 60 units in a separate yet connected building of supportive housing for low-income veterans (Check out the old renderings here).

The project is located at 432 East 162nd Street and is where Elton Avenue and 161st Street meet and across from Boricua College and the Northrose Apartments.  It will be adjacent to WHEDco’s Bronx Commons development which will be housing the 15,000 square foot Bronx Musical Heritage Center along with 270 units of housing. These two projects combined will bring over half a million square feet of residential space in 530 residential units on one block.

Other changes for Site C is the amount of retail space which has shrunk from 27,500 square feet to 8,000 square feet.  This is very disappointing as local residents and community leaders have been looking to activate this often empty stretch of 161st Street.  The number of units, however has remained pretty much the same. Original plans called for 260 and the new plans call for 263 so there’s no difference there.

Rendering of  Site C by MAP Architects
Rendering of Site C by MAP Architects

According to Magnusson Architecture and Planning (MAP), who developed the plan for the entire Melrose Commons Redevelopment Area, Melrose Commons North Site C is described as such:

The project is comprised of two connected buildings, an affordable family housing building and a supportive housing building for low-income veterans, and together, provides 263 units of housing. The buildings work together to create a landscaped courtyard with plenty of daylight entering through the generous cut in the height elevation of the south-facing part of the family building. This measure allows typical backyard housing units an unusual abundance of daylights and views to the neighboring public park above the former railroad trench on East 161st Street and Elton Avenue. The courtyard includes a series of terraced gardens and outdoor decks, forming a central and unifying feature of the new complex.

 The design introduces a new generation of sustainable housing development combined with a new visual statement of modern high-density housing. The project incorporates basic sustainable measures, such as solar orientation, maximizing daylight and natural ventilation in conjunction with state-of-the-art green initiatives, such as the implementation of a vast system of storm water management, solar heating and roof gardens including areas dedicated to Urban Agriculture.

What are your thoughts on this project? How do you feel about more supportive housing in an area that is overwhelmed by such types of services?

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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.