Melrose jigsaw puzzle complete

In August, affordable housing builders gathered atop a mountain of gravel at E. 156th Street to break ground on St. Ann’s Terrace, a 600-unit mixed-income development. One builder gazed down at Melrose and described the neighborhood as a jigsaw puzzle – a vacant lot redeveloped here, a burned out building restored there.

On Friday, December 18, CPC Resources, The Briarwood Organization and The Bridge announced plans to build a 260-unit affordable housing development at E. 161st Street and Elton Avenue: the last substantial city-owned lot in the Melrose Commons North Urban Renewal Area, the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle.

The city Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) will help fund the development, set to include low to moderate-income housing, subsidized senior housing, studios for special needs populations and 27,500 square feet of retail space.

The planned development will join 2,743 units already built through HPD in Melrose.

The yet-unnamed E. 161st Street and Elton Avenue development has been designed to earn LEED Silver green building certification. Plans include 119 low to moderate-income family units, 80 units of senior housing and 60 studios, Briarwood spokesman Julien Vernet said. The Bridge houses people with mental illness, people with drug and alcohol disorders, people who are homeless and people with HIV/AIDS.

In 2008, Briarwood and CPC completed Banana Kelly Place, a 58-unit affordable housing development in Hunts Point. Briarwood, CPC and The Bridge responded to an HPD request for proposals. Briarwood, CPC and The Bridge will design the development and Briarwood will build it. Enterprise Community Partners plans to contribute up to $75,000 in grants for green features.

“The construction of these new affordable housing units is going to be another huge step forward for the Melrose community and for Bronx families,” Congressman Jose Serrano said.

Community Board 3 district manager John Dudley hailed the planned development.

“CB3 welcomes the announcement,” Dudley said. “We commend [HPD]…for its commitment to the Bronx success story.”

Reach reporter Daniel Beekman at 718 742-3383 or

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