The Bronx saw another spike in real estate investment last year, with a record $3.3 billion and over 14.2 million square feet of development hitting the borough, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said at a real estate panel on Wednesday.
“Once upon a time the Bronx was burning,” Diaz told the audience at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. “Those stereotypes, those images of the ‘70s and ‘80s no longer exist.”
The $3.3 billion investment figure represents a 37 percent increase over 2015’s $2.4 billion, and the 14 million square feet of development last year is a 41 percent increase, according to a report released by Diaz’s office. Just over half of the investment in 2016 came in residential development, the report claims. Developers added 5,234 residential units to the borough last year, and nearly three quarters of these units were publicly subsidized, underscoring some of the challenges building in low-income areas.
The largest residential developments to break ground in the borough last year included a 303-unit, mixed-use building at Melrose Commons and 167 units at 869 East 147th Street. The two developments total over $200 million of investment.
The Bronx is also experiencing a rise in commercial investment. The largest development in 2016, the Kingsbridge National Ice Center, alone added $350 million. The center, which has been beset by delays, may receive state funding when the budget passes early next month. Other large projects include York Studios’ $59 million film and television studio at 1410 Story Avenue and Young Woo’s $43 million revamp of the old post office at 558 Grand Concourse.
Since 2009 the borough has seen a total of $12.8 billion in real estate investment, with areas in the South Bronx receiving more than other districts. In its November 2015 cover package, The Real Deal took a deeper look at development in the borough, as big-name developers like Related Companies, Somerset Partners and Chetrit Group dive into the mix.
Wednesday’s panelists expressed their enthusiasm with developing property in the borough. “We look forward to staying here for a very long time,” said Guido Subotovsky, president of Azimuth Development Group, which recently filed plans for a three building, 275-unit development near Yankee Stadium.
Subotovsky added that the borough posed a unique attitude when it comes to development. “The Bronx Is The One Place where you come into the community and you don’t have to figure out what you want to do,” he said. “They’re going to tell you.”
It may be part of the Bronx’s identity, which Diaz looked to separate from other areas in the city, noting the borough’s diversity and history. “We are not the new Brooklyn,” Diaz said. “We are the Boogie Down Bronx,” he added to cheers from the audience.