It looks like the south Bronx is gentrifying.
On Nov. 21, Brookfield Properties introduced Bankside, a $950 million, 4.3 acre mixed-use. multi tower development located along the waterfront in Mott Haven.
There will be more than 1,350 apartments, 30 percent of which will be income-targeted through the Affordable New York program.
Bankside represents one of the largest private investments ever undertaken in the borough. Brookfield purchased the property in September 2018 for $165 million from Somerset Partners and the Chetrit Group.
“We are excited to unveil the new Bankside name and design and to commence construction, bringing the development to life,” said Brookfield Property Group chairman Ric Clark. “Mott Haven is a special neighborhood, and we think Bankside will be a great addition, bringing much-needed housing, a new public waterfront park and esplanade, and hundreds of construction jobs, many of which will be filled with Bronx residents through our local hiring program.”
Bankside will consume two parcels located on each side of the Third Avenue Bridge along the Harlem River – at 2401 Third Avenue and 101 Lincoln Avenue. There will be 462,000 gross square feet of development at 2401 Third Avenue and 950,000 gross square feet at Lincoln. The Third Avenue parcel will have three towers and 101 Lincoln Avenue will have four towers.
The towers will be interconnected by low-rise elements spread across the two parcels. All the towers will be 25 stories, except for the one on the 2401 Third Avenue site, which will be 17 stories.
The construction, which has now begun, will occur in two phases, beginning with more than 450 apartments on the site at 2401 Third Avenue, expected to open by the end of 2021.
Brookfield has created a local hiring program to maximize job opportunities for residents of the south Bronx in conjunction with the construction project.
Andrew Brent, spokesperson for Brookfield Properties feels Bankside will benefit the neighborhood.
“The development site has been vacant or underutilized for some time and has cut the community off from the waterfront for generations,” Brent said. “We have heard consistent feedback from community members who desire new housing, new open space and access to the waterfront, and who welcome construction jobs if they open opportunities for local residents.
“We believe the benefits will be substantial and are working hard to build a dynamic and sustainable project that improves the quality of life for local residents,” he added.
There will be a public waterfront park and esplanade on the Harlem River shoreline. Brookfield will also make substantial improvements to the shoreline bulkhead and enhance upland connectivity to the river.
The development will include 15,000 square feet of ground-floor local retail, including a tech-based educational and community center run by Project Destined, the nonprofit that administers a real estate based education program focused on empowering underserved communities through training in financial literacy, total health and leadership development.
Brookfield worked with Project Destined on a educational and mentorship program with Brookfield executives and students from Bronx public schools.
Elected officials understand this will drastically change the community, but are standing behind the project.
However, Councilwoman Diana Ayala noted that residents in Mott Haven must have a voice when it comes to large developments like this.
“As elected officials, we must prioritize development that addresses our city’s affordable housing crisis and allows our constituents the opportunity to remain living in the neighborhoods they know and love,” Ayala said.
One civic-minded Mott Haven resident is not in favor of this giant development. Mychal Johnson, co-founding member of South Bronx Unite, feels gentrification isn’t good for economically oppressed communities of color.
Johnson, who served on Community Board 1 from 2005 to 2013, feels Bankside will not benefit the community. It seems like the community board and Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. aren’t looking out for the community, he remarked.
Meanwhile, a local businesswoman doesn’t share Johnson’s concerns.
The Bankside parcel is one of the most expensive properties ever purchased in the Bronx said Rosa Garcia, owner of the Mott Haven Bar & Grill.
“I like the fact that it is also thinking of the community by adding community access spaces, recreational facilities and affordable apartments,” Garcia said.