Developers make big resi bet on Mott Haven

Bronx neighborhood slated for more than 5,000 units across 20 projects

From left: renderings of 322 Grand Concourse, Willis Avenue and 146th Street, and 425 Grand Concourse (Dattner Architects, NYCHA, iStock)
From left: renderings of 322 Grand Concourse, Willis Avenue and 146th Street, and 425 Grand Concourse (Dattner Architects, NYCHA, iStock)

One of the poorest neighborhoods in New York City is quickly becoming the hub of large-scale residential developments.

The Bronx’s Mott Haven neighborhood is set to develop about 20 residential projects with more than 5,000 combined apartments in the coming years, according to the New York Times. Many of the projects include a 70-to-30 market-rate to affordable ratio, though some are entirely affordable units.

The Times points to rezoning changes made by Mayors Rudy Giuliani, Michael Bloomberg and Bill de Blasio beginning in the late 1990s as a factor in the ongoing Mott Haven push. The rezonings emphasized not only residential buildings, but also parks and riverfront walks.

It’s not yet clear how many local residents will be able to take advantage of the coming developments. In 2019, the district that includes Mott Haven had a 37 percent poverty rate, tied with Hunts Point for third-poorest in the city. The median rent in the neighborhood at the time was $1,000 per month.

With new apartments comes renewed fear of rising rents, prices and gentrification, although many of the units will be income-restricted and studies show residential development does not push up local rents.

“Are the people whom I set out to serve still going to be here at the end of my lease?” bookstore owner Nöelle Santos said, according to the Times.

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Despite those concerns, projects are pushing right along in Mott Haven.

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Last month, NYCHA signed a $60 million deal for a development at the corner of East 146th Street and Willis Avenue, which will be the site of the 101-unit Betances Family Apartments. All of the development’s units are set to be affordable, including 30 set aside for previously homeless households.

In July, Simon Kaufman’s YS Developers landed a $63 million construction loan for a 151-unit development at 322 Grand Concourse. The lender has said the development is part of Affordable New York, meaning 30 percent of the units will be set aside for affordable housing.

Brookfield Properties in March scored a $190 million loan from Goldman Sachs for Bankside, a massive project along the waterfront that will deliver 1,350 units, 30 percent of which will be affordable.

[NYT] — Holden Walter-Warner

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