A new development group has acquired a stretch of neglected blocks on West Farms Road in the Bronx, and wants the city to rezone the area so it can build 10 high-rise buildings with a total of 1,300 apartments and shops, the New York Daily News reported. According to the Department of City Planning, it would be one of the largest private rezoning projects in the borough since Co-op City. The land — 215,000 square feet overlooking the Sheridan Expressway and the Bronx River — was purchased by Signature Urban Properties, led by former City Council Speaker Gifford Miller. The project is expected to cost up to $400 million and could take up to seven years to complete.
Developers intend to seek public funds to keep half the apartments affordable and charge market-rate for the rest. Derrick Lovett, CEO of MBD Housing, a local non-profit, said the area — which is now zoned for light industry and includes a city impound lot, an abandoned steel shop, a marble factory and a sausage factory — is a magnet for crime. “You have mostly vacant, abandoned buildings,” said Lovett, who believes that the neighborhood needs new homes. The zoning change would only affect new shops, Miller said. Signature also hopes to create leafy public plazas between the new buildings. The rezoning is slated for public review starting next month. Community Boards 3 and 6, the borough president and the City Council will judge the proposal, which could be approved by next year. [NYDN]