Suits and hardhats gathered on a mountain of gravel in Melrose on Tuesday, August 4 to break ground on St. Ann’s Terrace, a 600-unit mixed-income housing development. The development will eventually include 50,000 square feet of street level retail and 400 below ground parking spots, city brass said.
The three-block chunk of land at St. Ann’s Avenue and E. 156th Street boasts a commanding view of Melrose, a blighted neighborhood remade thanks to a decade-long affordable housing boom. St. Ann’s Terrace is a joint venture between Jackson Development and Joy Construction.
On Third Avenue and E. 161st Street, construction workers are putting the finishing touches on Boricua Village, a 700-unit development. Non-profit organization Nos Quedamos has redeveloped and added to a newly “green” Melrose Commons. So has Les Bluestone of Blue Sea Corporation. Viewed from the peak of St. Ann’s Terrace, the neighborhood sparkles, a patchwork of new brick and sandstone.
“Take a look around,” said Neil Weissman of Jackson Development. “Take a look at the new Bronx.”
Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo identified St. Ann’s Terrace the largest remaining vacant lot in Melrose. The mixed-income development will benefit middle class families, Arroyo said. It will house young schoolteachers and police officers; too many flee the borough, she said.
New York City Housing Development Corporation Commissioner Marc Jahr worked to finance the development. St. Ann’s Terrace completes the Melrose jigsaw puzzle, Jahr said. HDC invested $76.8 million toward St. Ann’s Terrace. JP Morgan Chase and Citibank backed the investment.
Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. added $3 million. He asked the banks to keep investing in the borough. Altogether the development will cost $168 million to build.
The development will offer units to residents of assorted income levels, earning between $26,900 and $61,450, based on a family of four. It will generate more than 1,800 construction jobs, Deputy Mayor Robert Leiber said.
“How sweet it is,” said Community Board 1 chair George Rodriguez.
CB1 district manager Cedric Loftin and land use chair Arline Parks will team with Jackson development, the city and Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. to secure the jobs for Bronx residents. The city typically aims to secure 50 percent of construction jobs for borough residents; CB1 has asked Jackson to do 60 percent.
Melrose schools and healthcare providers will shoulder an influx of children when St. Ann’s Terrace and other development are complete; there has been talk of opening a charter school at St. Ann’s Terrace. CB1 member Brenda Goodwin isn’t concerned.
“We have enough schools,” Goodwin said.
©2009 Community News Group