For decades, the Melrose Alexander’s Department Store on 3rd Ave in The Hub was the place of choice for thousands of Bronxites and part of our borough’s cultural fabric.
Fast forward to 2013, the building was offered for sale for over $22 million but eventually sold for $16.2 million.
Founded in 1928 at that very location, Alexander’s became a Bronx institution catering to the Jewish, Italian, and Irish immigrants and later the African-American and Puerto Rican community.
Eventually, it grew to a chain of 11 stores in the region including the iconic anchor on Fordham Road and the Grand Concourse until heading to midtown Manhattan.
In the 80s the store continued a decline as the company focused more on real estate than the stores themselves.
By 1992 the company went bankrupt shutting down its 11 stores.
Conway eventually swooped in and acquired several of the properties and converted The Hub building into a combination of Conway’s and a poorly constructed mini mall on the second floor.
For decades the once fabled Art Deco building languished and the upper floors closed off as the mini mall concept failed.
Now, the building is undergoing major renovations including demolition of the top 4th floor and installation of new elevators and escalators.
Gone are the terrazo floors that once graced the store.
Currently, there is no set tenant to occupy the space but a search for a large chain is on according to unofficial word on the project.
I have fond memories of the building before its demise, now I’m curious as to what kind of life it will be given during a different set of circumstances our borough is going through as we face gentrification.
Will this major asset benefit the existing community or will it be something for the gentry?