Construction on the last phase of the Compass Residences affordable housing complex in West Farms began with fanfare Friday, March 19, with an official groundbreaking.
Rising up out of what had once been a marble factory warehouse along an industrial strip, Compass Six will eventually stand 16 stories tall above the neighborhood, providing 261 affordable homes in all — half of which will be reserved for families earning under $52,000 a year.
Compass Six is the final piece of the decade-long puzzle for the affordable housing development; when it’s finished, the Compass Residence will provide a total of 1,400 families in eight buildings with affordable places to live in the heart of the borough.
The project’s importance, according to Deputy Mayor Vicki Been, is even more heightened as the city works to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic — and put an end to the long-ignored inequality New Yorkers of color have suffered for decades.
“Compass Residences is turning an underused strip of industrial land into a truly valuable asset for the Crotona and West Farms neighborhoods of the Bronx,” said Been, who’s deputy mayor for housing and economic development. “Once this final building is complete, the development project will have changed the lives of nearly 1,400 households by providing quality affordable housing and access to great outdoor spaces and retail – all of which are critical to the City’s equitable recovery from this pandemic.”
Joining Been at the March 19 groundbreaking were members of the city’s Housing Development Corporation and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), along with Monadnock Development and Signature Urban Properties, the developers behind the project. Representatives of financing giant Wells Fargo were also present.
Other representatives in attendance were HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll, HDC President Eric Enderlin, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and City Councilman Rafael Salamanca.
In a statement, Mayor Bill de Blasio remarked that Compass Six signaled opportunity for “a proud neighborhood that has been hit hard by COVID-19, and help West Farms chart a path forward for its recovery.”
The full Compass Residences site is located within walking distance of the West Farms Square-East Tremont Avenue station along the 2 and 5 subway lines, and is situated adjacent to the redesigned Sheridan Boulevard — the former expressway-turned-waterfront thoroughfare along the Bronx River.
The vast majority of all homes there serve low- and moderate-income households earning $61,000 or less a year. A chunk of the units are also provided to formerly homeless families; 39 units of the Compass Six building will be reserved for the homeless.
More than housing, the development also provides the community with a new public school, 19,000 square feet of commercial space, 1,600 square feet of community space, offices, an urgent care facility and 71 parking spots. It also provides connection to nearby Starlight Park.
Born out of the 2011 rezoning of Crotona Park East and West Farms, the Compass project provided 2,000 new construction jobs, a quarter of which were reserved for minority- and women-owned businesses. Compass Six is expected to be finished in 2024.
“The groundbreaking of Compass Six is a tremendous step towards these goals. With the completion of Compass Six, we will have a total of 1,400 families who will benefit from the nearby amenities like Starlight Park and Concrete Plant Park which is right across the reimagined Sheridan Boulevard,” said Diaz Jr. “I look forward to the day hundreds of Bronx residents have a new and affordable unit they can call home.”