La Central development Melrose wins approval

La Central development Melrose wins approval

Construction of the massive mixed-use development project planned for Melrose known as La Central is now underway after lawmakers approved the first phase of the project last week.

The NYC Council Committee on Land Use granted several land use permits for the project on Thursday, September 8, allowing the project to move forward.

The 1.1 million-square-foot development will feature a total of 992 residential units in five buildings centered at 430 Westchester Avenue.

Councilman Rafael Salamanca, said he had worked hard to get the developer to offer 10 percent of the units at 30 percent average median income, or AMI.

La Central is the largest development to fall under the city’s new Mandatory Inclusionary Housing guidelines that require affordable housing in all new developments.

Apartments will be available via lottery for households earning 30 to 100 percent of the New York City area median income, with residents of Community Board 1 getting first preference for 50 percent of those units, according to the developer.

“I thought there should have been deeper affordability, and so I fought hard with the administration to ensure they lowered the AMI to 30 percent, and I didn’t budge until that happened, Salamanca said. “I don’t want to displace anyone, but I want to keep the working professionals in the community.”

The developer, Hudson Inc. of New York, hopes to close with the city for phase I of the project by the end of December, said Hudson principal Aaron Koffman.

That first phase will include three buildings housing 660 units of affordable housing, including 160 supportive housing units for adults living with HIV and military veterans suffering from mental illness.

Phase 1 will also include a 49,000-square-foot YMCA that will feature both a lap swimming pool and general-use pool, a dividable gymnasium and a fitness room.

YMCA spokesman Paul Custer said the organization was ramping up services to the borough, with another planned location just announced in the Edenwald section.

“We want to expand our presence in the Bronx, and this will allow us to do so in a vibrant community,” Custer said.

The facility will also offer community programs including recreational leagues, fitness classes, day camps and a diabetes prevention program.

“We do very well in making sure we have programs going on in all our spaces all the time,” Custer said.

Also planned is a an urban rooftop farm run by GrowNYC and a new studio for BronxNet that will feature a glass window studio that will allow residents to view shows being filmed.

BronxNet executive director Michael Knobbe said the new studio was the natural next step for the organization, giving them what he called an amazing opportunity in the south Bronx.

“It’s an area that has been underrepresented and is densely populated,” Knobbe said.

Like existing BronxNet facilities at Lehman College and Mercy College, the studio will be used to train residents, including high school students, in the media arts and allow them to record Bronx–focused programing with the help of highly-trained staff.

Koffman said the developer wants to close on the second phase of the project within a year, which will include two more buildings, eight and 25 stories high, with a total of 336 apartments as well as a daycare center.

It will also include an astronomy center run by the Bronx High School of Science that is expected to broadcast programs to public schools across the city.

Reach Reporter Arthur Cusano at (718) 260-4591. E-mail him at