The vacant Whitestone Multiplex Cinema site may become the future home of an e-commerce enterprise.
The 2505 Bruckner Boulevard development site is slated for a multi-level warehouse for ‘last-mile’ deliveries, according to multiple sources.
News broke in the city’s real estate and business media that Innovo Property Group and Square Mile Capital, which purchased the site from Extell Development for $75 million, has a conceptual plan for the development of a 840,000 square foot, two-story distribution facility, according to published reports.
The project itself will be molded around an as yet unspecified tenant, said George Arzt, a spokesman representing Innovo.
“The site lends itself to a distribution center because the highway system goes right through it,” said Arzt. “What makes it so attractive is that it is a 20-acre site within the city limits.”
Arzt added that the site is “at the nexus of highways and truck routes” and is barely an hours drive to parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, as well as Connecticut, Westchester and Long Island.
“And everything about e-commerce distribution is about speed, because people want to be instantaneously gratified,” said Arzt. “You buy something on the net and the package is there the next day.”
The project is “as of right,” Arzt said, requiring no zoning change. He added that the property does not lend itself to large-scale residential development.
Prior to this latest plan, another developer, Lightstone Group, had proposed Paragon Outlet Mall for the site, but by 2015 it became apparent that the plan would not come to fruition, despite a billboard touting the outlet mall project.
Marlene Cintron, Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation president, said that the borough was shocked when the Whitestone Multiplex Cinema shut down without much advance notice (in 2013).
“Certainly, we would have loved something that would have been much more inclusive of the community, which is the reason I thought the outlet would have been a great opportunity,” said Cintron.
Cintron said that with 10 million people visiting outlet malls upstate, bringing a fraction of them into the borough would have furthered economic development and offered other opportunities.
The current plan would provide more jobs for the borough, whether they are for truckers moving merchandise directly from the distributor to the consumers’ doors or people working inside the warehouse, she indicated.
Cintron said that it would allow the borough to have same day e-commerce deliveries, something other boroughs have but so far the Bronx does not.
Most e-commerce deliveries in the borough are usually one or two days, and never same day, she said.
She added: “It brings us into the same ‘speed zone’; it is not something that we are going to complain about.”
The renderings of the facility also denote an attractive building, said Cintron, adding developing the site would remove an eyesore.
This was a sentiment echoed by Senator Jeff Klein, who said the property has sat vacant for too long.
“I’m in full support of any commercial development to this long underutilized site that would quickly bring well-paying jobs to the people of The Bronx,” said Klein.
The site is currently a parking lot for trucks, school buses and marshal-seized cars.