Silverback plans 200-unit South Bronx Opportunity Zone project

Concourse development follows $16.9M parcel purchase

Silverback's Josh Schuster and 580 Gerard Avenue (Google Maps) 
Silverback's Josh Schuster and 580 Gerard Avenue (Google Maps)

With a lift from Opportunity Zone financing, Silverback Development is set to build a $90 million, 200-unit development in the West Concourse neighborhood.

Plans for the building at 580 Gerard Avenue, where 30 percent of units will be affordable, include retail space and at least 71 parking spaces, according to the company. It will be Silverback’s first project in the borough, with construction expected to begin in the third quarter of 2021.

No demolition plans have been filed with the Department of Buildings and an architect for the project has not been finalized.

Earlier this month, Silverback paid $16.9 million for the South Bronx parcel with 214,800 square feet of development rights, which is currently home to a parking lot. That comes out to $79 per buildable square foot.

The project is also eligible for tax incentives under the Qualified Opportunity Zone program, a federal policy enacted in 2017 to spur investment in economically distressed areas.

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Silverback’s investment comes at a time when the population of the Bronx is growing; between 2010 and 2017, it added more than 86,000 new residents.

“The Bronx has been the fastest-growing borough in New York City since 2010,” said Josh Schuster, a principal at Silverback.

Residential construction in West Concourse has historically lagged behind: The number of vacant housing units in the neighborhood fell by 47.7 percent between 2010 and 2018, according to census data, and just 137 apartments were added within the same period.

But a spate of projects have emerged in the South Bronx, where 78 designated Opportunity Zones are located.

By investing in one of the 8,700 Opportunity Zones sites throughout the country, developers and property owners can defer or forgo paying capital gains taxes. After 10 years, an investor or developer can forgo the entire capital gains tax on their investment.

However, the program has been criticized for benefiting investors and developers who build in Opportunity Zones, but not the longtime residents of those areas.