Four-building Bruckner rezoning proposal ‘a very uphill climb,’ but developers persist

Residents in August protest a proposal that would bring multiple buildings to Bruckner Boulevard.
Photo Adrian Childress

A proposal to bring a handful of buildings, two of which would have 8 stories, to a low-density Throggs Neck neighborhood has faced fierce opposition before even beginning the community board review process.

But the developers aren’t giving up.

Throggs Neck Associates LLC, is requesting zoning map and text amendments to develop four sites on Bruckner Boulevard, including the Super Foodtown grocery store at 2945-65 Bruckner Blvd. The project would bring 339 apartment units, 94 of which would be designated as affordable housing.

The eastern project area, which would include three buildings. Photo courtesy NYC Planning

Three commercial and residential buildings are proposed for the eastern part of the project. One 8-story building would sit alongside Crosby Avenue where Super Foodtown is located, a property owned by Peter and Joe Bivona.

Peter Bivona said in an interview with the Bronx Times that the brothers plan on keeping a supermarket on the site, creating senior and veteran housing and potentially the first women’s health clinic in the Bronx.

“It’s going to be a first-class building … our goal is to facilitate the community first,” he said.

Another 8-story building would sit in front of Old St. Raymonds Cemetery, on the other side of East Tremont Avenue, on vacant property owned by Marco and Franco Marciano. The buildings would be the tallest in the vicinity, but Sam Goldstein, a representative for the developers from Marino PR, argued that the site is “more on the edge” of the single-family home community.

A 5-story building would be constructed in between the two taller buildings, on property owned by Peter Zuccarello, James Cervino and Jack Caliendo, which currently has a batting cage and empty commercial space.

The western project area, which would include a 3-story residential building. Photo Courtesy NYC Planning

A fourth, solely residential 3-story building is proposed on a vacant site westward on the Bruckner, also owned by the Marcianos.

Peter Bivona emphasized that the owners aren’t “outsiders coming into the neighborhood.”

“We are insiders,” he said. “We are part of Throggs Neck community.”

There would be about 300 parking spaces across the four sites.

If approved, however, the project would undo efforts to slow growth in the area due to the 2004 Throggs Neck rezoning, which designated Community District 10 a Lower Density Growth Management Area.

Protestors at the Super Foodtown site in August. Photo Adrian Childress

The Community Board 10 intends to protect its low-density zoning, CB10 District Manager Matthew Cruz said in an interview with the Bronx Times.

“This is a very uphill climb,” Cruz said of the proposed project. “You’re providing density in a community where there isn’t. Do I know if [the developers] feel confident about this application? I couldn’t tell you that. But they’ve been met with stiff opposition and they’re continuing to go forward with this application.”

A group of residents have raised more than $29,000 for a legal team to oppose the project on a GoFundMe created in September. An online petition has garnered almost 5,000 signatures. The local City Councilmember Marjorie Velázquez opposes the project. In early August, residents protested at the Super Foodtown site.

The project would span multiple sites on Bruckner Boulevard. Photo courtesy NYC Planning

Peter Bivona said in a statement to the Bronx Times that his team has heard “some opposition” and they believe “some of it stems from misinformation or uncertainty around what the project entails and what is being proposed.”

He argued that the project will support the local economy and address a dire need for housing while “activating and enlivening several spaces that are underutilized or entirely dormant.”

Attempts to interview Velázquez for this article were unsuccessful, but her team doubled down on her opposition in a statement to the Bronx Times“The Council Member has stated repeatedly that she is against the project as it stands,” her office said. “Just as her predecessor, former Council Member Jimmy Vacca, advocated for the Waterbury-Lasalle communities ten years ago, Council Member Velázquez will continue discussions with the community about any developments, and take into consideration the needed infrastructure before considering any proposed projects, including needed education, transportation or public works projects.”

A rendering shows a proposed 8-story building for the Foodtown site in Throggs Neck. Photo courtesy NYC Planning

Spokespersons for the City Council did not respond to requests for comment about what influence Velázquez’s opinion could have on other members’ votes — often referred to as council deference.

The developers will present to CB10 at 7:30 p.m. on April 19 at St. Benedict’s Father Albert Hall at 2968 Bruckner Blvd. Then, a public hearing in May will follow.

State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, whose district encompasses the site, could not be reached by press time.

Reach Aliya Schneider at [email protected] or (718) 260-4597. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes.