Bronx Point achieves national recognition for excellence in waterfront design

A rendering of the Waterfront Alliance announced that Bronx Point is the first affordable housing project to achieve verification in the national version of its WEDG
Courtesy of Waterfront Alliance

A nonprofit looking to bring change to the region’s waterways and 700 miles of shoreline according to a major announcement yesterday.

On May 14, the Waterfront Alliance announced that Bronx Point is the first affordable housing project to achieve verification in the national version of its WEDG (Waterfront Edge Design Guidelines). The project is the ninth waterfront project to be verified through the WEDG program, a rating system and set of guidelines to create resilient, ecological and accessible waterfronts.

Bronx Point’s verification shows that community-driven design, affordability, high-quality access and ecological restoration are achievable for waterfront projects.

Led by developers L+M Development Partners and Type A Projects, the design team had more than 20 engagements with the community, soliciting and publicizing surveys, visiting local community spaces, such as senior centers and canvassing on weekends in the future waterfront park.

“Preparing our coastal communities for the growing risks of sea level rise and climate change is imperative, and we need to make sure that the benefits of resilient design are equitable throughout our region,” said Roland Lewis, president and CEO of the Waterfront Alliance.  “By achieving WEDG Verification, Bronx Point is helping to push developers towards a higher standard and getting us closer to the future we need.”

WEDG is a tool to cut through challenges such as complex ecosystems, overlapping regulatory jurisdictions, multiple stakeholders, sea level rise and coastal storms.

As coastal cities continue to grapple with needs for affordable, resilient housing, Bronx Point can serve as valuable case study for practitioners and community activists. The landscape designers, Marvel Architects, worked with Langan Engineering’s waterfront engineering team to create a resilient shoreline edge, by removing an existing relieving platform and creating a more naturalized shoreline slope and shape that can reduce tidal energy as sea levels rise.

The team also reintroduced native tidal marsh vegetation, created a get-down in a cove at Mill Pond Park, and employed a joint planted revetment strategy that both stabilizes and ecologically-enhances the shoreline edge. This mixed shoreline strategy is all too rare for dense, urban residential projects; but because of the shoreline design, the project has been able to partner with the Billion Oyster Project to install an oyster reef in the inlet that will both improve shoreline resilience, and allow for regular programming to train students of the Bronx community as citizen scientists.

“We are excited for Bronx Point’s achievement of WEDG Verification, recognizing the thoughtful, collaborative design of a renewed Bronx Harlem River waterfront for the public,” said Josue Sanchez, L+M Development Partners. “It was a true team effort as we enjoyed working closely with Community Board 4, city agencies and departments, and elected officials to craft a resilient plan for the benefit of the local and City-wide community. We look forward to delivering this new narrative for the waterfront and welcoming new visitors to be part of the revitalizing story.”