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Mott Haven Waterfront to be Developed

Bronx Times
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A quiet stretch of the south Bronx waterfront may be on the brink of change.

An application has been filed to build a new 12-story hotel at 82 Brown Place between East 132nd Street (facing out towards the Harlem River freight yards), and Bruckner Boulevard.

If approved the 129-foot tall hotel would replace Advantage Lumber, a one-story lumber warehouse that currently occupies the space.

STR, a research firm focused solely on the hotel industry, says that according to their pipeline database the building is in its final planning stages.

The project will go out for bid within the next four months, the research firm stated.

The project will be a La Quinta Inn, featuring 130 rooms, according to the database. It will contain a lobby restaurant, but no on-site parking.

“If projects get into final planning they usually do happen,” said Bobby Bowers, STR’s VP of Operations, when asked if the plans will likely come to fruition.

“Looking at Bronx county, there has been [hotel] development in the past 2-3 years, but in terms of numbers it’s still low, so when you add one hotel - that’s a lot. A Residence Inn opened in 2015 and created a 12 percent increase in supply with one hotel, ” he added.

Hotel development citywide has been booming over the past few years, and is likely to level off soon, but according to STR the Bronx is an outlier.

“Citywide rates have gone down because the supply is so high, but the Bronx is a different story,” explained Brown, “Rates are up and occupancy is up.”

The country-wide chain La Quinta Inn & Suites, also found in Canada and Mexico, provides reasonably priced rooms, a good thing for locals who don’t want to see a luxury building no one could afford come into their neighborhood.

South Bronx Unite, a coalition of organizations working to improve the areais skeptical of what could come.

“They need to jive with the heads of community, we need to take these things into consideration - traffic, accessibility, our problems with environmental justice and health, and how they could help the arts and cultural issues of the area,” said Mucho Lopez, an active member of South Bronx Unite who hopes to make contact with the developer in the coming months.

“Maybe they could have a space for local artists to exhibit their stuff, an area for the community to use, it depends...in principle it could be a good thing,” said Lopez.

One main point of contention for the group is whether or not a new development will create jobs for the community.

“If this hotel were to be built we would certainly like it to hire locally, giving jobs to local people - but jobs that pay a living wage,” said Lopez, who says the group will only support projects that will benefit the neighborhood and not developers just looking to cash in on a new frontier.

When reached for comment, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who represents the 8th Council District, said she was currently reviewing the proposal.

According to STR there are three hotel properties under construction in the Bronx, three more in final planning stages, and six hotels in early planning stages.

A total of 47,658 square feet of commercial space will be developed.

The developer who did not respond to comment is Queens-based Amritpal Sandhu, who hired Akson Architects to design the building.

Updated 5:02 pm, July 9, 2018
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