In the first wave of construction in Melrose, over 3,000 units of “affordable” housing were constructed bringing thousands of new residents into the area and making the neighborhood the fastest growing neighborhood in The Bronx and 3rd fastest in New York City as per the 2010 census.
The units ranged from town homes, to condos, co-ops, and massive 700+ unit developments—all affordable housing (although we already know that it isn’t affordable for the majority who live in the area and is generally out of reach for those making too little or too much).
Now Melrose is experiencing its second wave of major construction as the last remaining parcels of what was once empty lots filled with the rubble of burnt out and abandoned buildings are being filled in with new affordable developments and even market-rate developments.
Over 2.1 million square feet of developments are in various phases of construction whether just breaking ground, rising, or getting ready to break ground in the very near future which in several years will add thousands of more residents into the area yet no improvements on transit have been made. 3rd Avenue and 149th Street on the 2/5 trains, 149th Street/Grand Concourse on the 2/4/5, and 161st Street-Yankee Stadium at River Avenue on the 4/B/D lines are among the busiest train stations in The Bronx.
The developments are as follows and will add a total of 1,915 unit to Melrose bringing in a total of over 5,000 units of new housing in just under 10 years to the area:
- 706 Courtlandt Ave|Under Construction|14,794 square foot, 5 story building with 16 residential units. Affordability unknown.
- 407 E 160th|Under Construction|25,280 square feet 8 stories, 39 units market rate apartments. According to the developer, details of what the rents will be is, “…too soon to determine”.
- Elton Crossing|Under Construction|258,000 square feet, 263 units with 60 units for homeless veterans.
- Bronx Commons|Groundbreaking scheduled for end of 2015|361,000 square foot development with 277 apartments and a 15,000 square foot Bronx Musical Heritage Center along with retail space.
- La Central|Groundbreaking scheduled for end of 2015/beginning of 2016|1.1 million square feet, 992 apartments (studios to 4 bedrooms, supportive housing for people with HIV/AIDS), 5 buildings from 8 to 25 stories, 50,000 square foot YMCA, 2 acres of public and private landscaped grounds, rooftop decks, astronomy tower and education center, rooftop farm, 10,000 square foot BronxNet studio and classroom space, 30,000 community space and over 45,000 of new retail space.
- 655 Morris Avenue|Under Construction| 217,579 square feet, 15 stories with 176 units including retail and community space.
- 3160 Park Ave|Under Construction|11 story, 185,000 square foot with retail and commercial space and 152 residential units.
On paper all of this sounds wonderful and looks quite beautiful but there’s always the question of affordability and who does it really benefit? Who can really afford it? Many professionals don’t qualify because they make too much and the average low-income working family makes too little due to the inane way the area median income is calculated which doesn’t truly reflect the community these developments are built in.
And then there’s the question of what will happen once the affordability of these units expires since they are not permanently affordable?
Check out the renderings of several of the above properties: