HPD accepting affordable housing, community space proposals for vacant lot in Crotona Park East

The vacant lot, in orange, is the future site of affordable housing and community gathering space in Crotona Park East.
Map courtesy HPD

The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) announced this week that it is seeking proposals for affordable housing and community space to fill a vacant lot at 1388-1400 Stebbins Ave. in the Crotona Park East neighborhood.

The 23,000-square-foot lot is city-owned and sits along Stebbins Avenue between East 170th and Jennings Street. Situated within Community Board 3, the site is near the 2 and 5 trains at Freeman Street and the Bx11, Bx17 and Bx21 bus routes.

HPD’s official Request for Proposals (RFP) means the agency is now accepting submissions from development teams. The deadline is May 3, after which the agency will select a winner based on its “quality and feasibility” as well as responsiveness to community preferences. 

Photo courtesy HPD

Prior to announcing the RFP, the department met with community members over two months to gather their input on how the site should be used. 

Throughout the process, HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr. said the agency is “putting the community’s needs front and center for development teams to review as part of their proposals to build affordable housing and space that will enrich this community.”

The Community Visioning Report, which summarized the responses of almost 200 residents, said that the top concern was the high costs of housing in the area, especially for young adults. 

A majority stated they would like to see rental housing for “lowest- and lower-income households” on the site, as opposed to homeownership opportunities, supportive housing or housing for seniors. 

Additionally, 70% of respondents preferred not to use the entire building only for housing, but also to open up the ground floor for some type of community space, such as childcare, a community center or workforce development center. 

Creating a gathering space was a clear preference among those who responded. One participant wrote that while housing is vital, “community [space] makes people stay more connected.”

Once a winning proposal is selected, HPD will go back to Community Board 3 with updates as the plan moves its way through the process, finalizing with City Council approval. Then, it will go through financing and construction and a Housing Connect lottery will open up. The board did not respond to requests for comment.

City Council Member Rafael Salamanca, Jr., whose district includes the site, expressed optimism for what the winning project will bring to the area. 

“Bringing in truly affordable housing and community spaces to the South Bronx will help push a drive for economic stimulation and investment into our community that has historically been overlooked,” Salamanca, Jr. said in a statement. 

The Stebbins Avenue site is part of Mayor Adams’ “24 in 24” initiative, the goal of which is to build and preserve 12,000 units of affordable housing on 24 publicly-owned sites in the year 2024. 

Residents and developers can find more information and track updates at the HPD website.

Reach Emily Swanson at [email protected] or (646) 717-0015. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes