On Tuesday, Nov. 5, developer Dynamic Star appointed Meridian Capital Group to arrange equity and debt financing for Fordham Landing, a planned $3.5 billion development along the Harlem River in University Heights, preparing it to be the largest land assemblage along a New York body of water by a private developer.
The parcel is located in Community Board 7, but directly across from CB 5.
According to a study conducted by the Association for the Neighborhood and Housing Development, 64.4 percent of the residents in University Heights/ Fordham are rent burdened.
The multi-phased development, which would occupy 40 acres of mostly vacant land separating the Harlem River from the Major Deegan Expressway, will total 2,380 residential units, consisting of 1,660 free-market apartments and 720 affordable housing units.
The development will bring waterfront access to the area and feature a revamped Metro North station, office space, residential units, a life sciences research center, hotel, retail, e-sports arena, student housing and a public school.
The site is adjacent to the Metro North station at West Fordham Road and is located near the University Heights Bridge, which offers quick access to Manhattan.
“Meridian’s first mission is to obtain $50 million of equity for Fordham Landing, followed by securing $100 million in debt financing for the multi-phased project,” said Dynamic Star’s president and CEO Gary Segal.
The riverfront will afford boating access to residents and will connect with the 25-acre Roberto Clemente Park, which offers sports, cultural activities and a playground.
Additionally, the Metro North station currently situated below grade at West Fordham Road will be enlarged, modernized and raised to street level. The community’s various components are expected to span 5,000,000 square feet.
Construction is expected to begin early 2022.
“The initial reactions we have received are enthusiastically positive,” Segal said. “We understand this is a lot to digest for the many stakeholders, so we are eager to proceed deliberately to ensure that all questions and concerns are addressed.”
CB7 district manager Ischia Bravo said she has concerns that the large scale project could impact the community’s infrastructure, price people out and possibly create congestion.
But, ultimately, it is too early to reach such a verdict, she said.
At a later date the board plans to have the developer at a hearing before the full board.
She pondered how tall the buildings will be and would they be out of context with the surrounding area?
She stressed there be needs to be a traffic study and the board would need to hear how the NYC Planning Commission feels about the project.
Yes, it could benefit the neighborhood, but it could also disrupt it, she said.
“What does a project of that magnitude mean for the community?” Bravo said. “We need to make sure that it’s built appropriately. It will change the dynamics of the area.”