Gifford Miller’s Bronx development project to go before City Planning

From left: Gifford Miller and Robert Frost, partner at Signature Urban

The Department of City Planning will be holding a public hearing on former City Council Speaker Gifford Miller’s Bronx real estate project later this month, the Wall Street Journal reported.

As previously reported, Miller and longtime friend Robert Frost, a partner at Signature Urban Properties, are planning to transform a derelict section of the Bronx near the Sheridan Expressway with 10 new “affordable” apartment buildings, they said.

The $400 million Bronx project is the pair’s first ground-up venture, the Journal said; the area is currently home to a strip of car repair shops and smaller residential buildings. Signature, founded in 2007, is currently working to have it rezoned to allow for the development.

“Around the corner from there, we have a prostitution problem,” said Ivine Galarza, district manager of the local community board. “There are many ills in that neighborhood. This project promises to rebuild that area.”

Miller and his associates are gambling on the demand for housing in the Bronx, an area that doesn’t always guarantee success, said Shimon Shkury, president of real estate services firm Ariel Property Advisors.  

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“If you can’t rent up the spaces at the prices you project, that’s the major risk,” Shkury said.

Frost said he knows the project comes with a great deal of risk.

“There is no question that the world today for all real estate developers is one fraught with uncertainty,” he said. But “we think there is an insatiable demand for housing for working people.”

Miller expects that, if approved, the project would take around seven years to complete.

As The Real Deal previously reported, Miller recently paid $3 million for an Upper East Side co-op for himself and his wife, Pamela. [WSJ]