Construction on a south Bronx project along the Harlem River waterfront that will create more than 1,000 units of affordable housing and the home for the Universal Hip Hop Museum will begin soon.
On Dec. 30, L+M Development Partners, Type A Projects, BronxWorks and NYC closed on financing for the first phase of Bronx Point, a mega development that will bring affordable housing to the Lower Concourse, an early childhood space run by BronxWorks and an outdoor science programming run by the Billion Oyster Project. Phase one will deliver 542 units of affordable housing, along with approximately 2.8 acres of public open space.
Overall, the 530,000 square foot Bronx Point development will include 1,045 apartment units, more than 56,000 square feet of educational and community space, along with more than 12,000 square feet of retail space. It will be completed by 2023.
“Community Board 4 is excited to see this project enter Phase I of development,” said Paul Philps, district manager, Community Board 4. “Bronx Point will include hundreds of new units of affordable housing, a permanent home for the Universal Hip Hop Museum, expansion of the District’s most heavily utilized open space resource, Mill Pond Park in addition to thousands of jobs for area residents. This represents a beacon of hope during what has been an extremely difficult year for everyone. We look forward to the advancement of this transformative capital project in the district.”
In recognition of its potential to serve the Lower Concourse community, Bronx Point was awarded an Award for Excellence in Public Design by the New York City Public Design Commission in November. Also, in May, the Waterfront Alliance named it the first affordable housing project in the country and just the ninth overall to achieve verification for excellence in waterfront design through its Waterfront Edge Design Guidelines, a rating system to manage coastal climate risks and create resident, ecologically sound and accessible waterfronts widely accepted as the gold standard across a range of industries.
Bronx Point is a key component of a $194 million capital investment strategy for the Lower Concourse neighborhood, announced by the de Blasio Administration in 2015 and led by NYCEDC. For more than two years, the development team and NYCEDC engaged with the community, including hosting open space design workshops and additional working group sessions with an array of local stakeholders.
Bronx Point will be home to the first permanent home of the Universal Hip Hop Museum, just down the river from the widely recognized birthplace of hip hop at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue.
“For years, we’ve wanted a permanent home in the Bronx—the birthplace of hip hop—and we are proud to be a part of Bronx Point, which will be one of the great new destinations of the borough,” said Kurtis Blow, hip hop legend and chairman emeritus of the Universal Hip Hop Museum. “Hip hop grew from a seed that was planted at a house party on Sedgwick Avenue into a global movement, and our museum will celebrate that journey and the Bronx’s place in its history.”
Bronx Point’s apartments will be available for families earning incomes ranging from 30 percent to 120 percent of Area Median Income, along with apartments for the formerly homeless. Apartments will include 135 studios, 192 one-bedrooms, 122 two-bedrooms and 93 three-bedrooms. Amenities will feature an outdoor terrace, on-site laundry, a children’s room, community lounge, bike storage room, on-site fitness center and around-the-clock front desk security.
“The need for affordable housing for Bronx residents, and for seniors and formerly homeless individuals in particular, cannot be overstated,” said Congressman-elect Ritchie Torres. “The COVID-19 pandemic, along with rising rents and stagnant wages, have exacerbated the affordable housing crisis in our city. This project will bring much needed affordable units to the Bronx and revitalize the Harlem River waterfront and the south Bronx.”
Public space is an integral part of Bronx Point. A grand staircase, designed to be a civic gathering space, will lead from the building down to the waterfront. The open space, across from Bronx Terminal Market, will feature a playground and landscaped area adjacent to the existing Mill Pond Park and the Bronx Children’s Museum to the north. An esplanade along the Harlem River shoreline will include a landscaped public walkway and seating areas.
It will also feature lawns, waterfront lookouts, an extended BBQ area, fitness zones for adults and public bathrooms.
Additionally, Bronx Point will include several spaces for youth and community programming and education. Development partner BronxWorks, will provide supportive services for tenants on the site and operate an early childhood center. At the same time, the Billion Oyster Project will run an outdoor education program that utilizes the Harlem River.
“BronxWorks is thrilled to be a partner in the Bronx Point Development,” said Eileen Torres, executive director, BronxWorks. “By offering families and residents child care and social services right on-site, the development represents an innovative and supportive approach for our Bronx neighbors. As we look to lift lives and build futures, especially post the devastating COVID pandemic, the Bronx Point is a hopeful sign of the future for our community.”