A local developer is taking advantage of a parcel of land just blocks south of Yankee Stadium, which was rezoned for high rise residential development in 2009 but has stood vacant since 2010, according to the 161st Street Business Improvement District.
The former Ball Park Lanes bowling alley closed four year ago, said BID executive director Cary Goodman, taking with it a vibrant social environment where neighbors gathered and hosted celebrations.
“The closing of the bowling alley created a hole in the heart of the community,” he said.
A year before the alley, at 810 River Avenue, closed, the site was rezoned to allow for mixed residential and commercial buildings up to 30 stories high, said Goodman. At the same time, four other sites in the area were similarly rezoned.
The sites are all adjacent, and three sit along the east side of River Avenue between 157th Street and 162nd Street. The two others are on the southern corners of 161st Street and Gerard Avenue.
But until recently, no developers had made a move on any of the properties. Goodman said a local real estate company, M. Melnick & Co., has begun construction of a 17-story residential and commercial building at the site.
A spokesman for the company said they were not prepared to comment on the project at this time.
Goodman said the BID is anxiously awaiting the new flood of residents to the area, which sits at a transportation hub with easy access to Manhattan.
He’s hoping the influx of people in the area creates a demand for a diversity of businesses to fill the commercial space in the development, offering other shopping options other than Yankee memorabilia.
If development continues to the other sites, it could bring a whole wave of changes to the neighborhood, and would dramatically alter the skyline of the stadium district.
“It’s really quite exciting in that way,” said Goodman.
Community Board 4 district manager Jose Rodriguez said the board also feels positive about the development.
“We’re excited at the prospect that finally, developers are taking advantage of the rezoning implemented in 2009,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez sees the project sparking interest from other parties.
“We’re hoping this encourages other developers to take advantage of the rezoning,” he said.