One of NYC’s last developable waterfront communities, investment in Mott Haven continues

Mott Haven
Mott Haven is classified as one of the last developable waterfront areas in NYC, which has led to an influx of attention and fears of gentrification.
Photo courtesy B6 Real Estate Advisors

Mott Haven is one of the Bronx’s poorest and environmentally compromised communities, but its status as one of NYC’s last untapped waterfront communities has led to a development boom in the area.

As a result, the neighborhood is now teeming with large-scale residential developments, with more on the way as 20 residential projects and more than 5,000 combined apartments are expected to be constructed over the next few years.

Director of B6 Real Estate Advisors Mitchel Flaherty, one of the most active brokers in the Bronx real estate who has a $10.9 million listing at 338-344 Grand Concourse, said that investment in Mott Haven is becoming a goldmine opportunity for new affordable housing ventures.

Flaherty told the Bronx Times that prospective tenants can take advantage of the site’s proximity to the MTA’s 4 and 5 lines, the uptick in commercial activity in the area and having a chance to “plant their flag” on one of the last high-scale development projects available in Mott Haven. Flaherty estimates it will take roughly 2 to 3 years for the project to be fully developed and that the city’s 421a option incentivizes a developer to construct a building with 80% market-rate units and 20% income-restricted units.

Director of B6 Real Estate Advisors touts a development listing on 338-344 Grand Concourse in the Mott Haven section as one of the last chances for developers to take advantage of the section’s access to transit, waterfront space and Manhattan. Photo courtesy B6 Real Estate Advisors

Affordable housing is a need boroughwide, particularly for the Mott Haven section. But the influx of new apartments does lead to fear of rising rents and gentrification.

In 2019, the district that includes Mott Haven had a 37% poverty rate, tied with Hunts Point for third-poorest in the NYC. The median rent in the neighborhood at the time was $1,000 per month. Studies suggest although many of the new incoming housing units will be income-restricted via mandatory inclusionary housing, residential development does not push up local rents.

Thirty-somethings Samia Taylor and Rochez Nueves have both lived in Mott Haven since they were young children running around on Alexander Avenue, but have noticed that with high-scale development comes more questions.

“Will we be priced out of here in a few years or will that new development trickle down to the community,” said Taylor, who works at a pharmacy in the area. “You always wonder who’s going to be able to afford these properties in a few years and if you gotta start looking over your shoulder for who’s changing the neighborhood.”

New rezoning strategies that emphasized residential buildings in addition to parks and riverfront walks began in the late 1990s but became a staple of development under mayors Michael Bloomberg and Bill de Blasio which fueled Mott Haven’s development over the last few years.

Last year was a strong year for Mott Haven development as NYCHA signed a $60 million deal for a project at the corner of East 146th Street and Willis Avenue; Simon Kaufman’s YS Developers landed a $63 million construction loan for a 151-unit development at 322 Grand Concourse; and Brookfield Properties in March scored a $190 million loan from Goldman Sachs for a waterfront housing project.

NYCHA is also inviting residents to take a community visioning survey for a new affordable housing project on 351 Powers Ave.

Reach Robbie Sequeira at [email protected] or (718) 260-4599. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes.