On Tuesday, March 13, NYC Department of Building permits were filed to construct a six-story apartment building on the corner of White Plains Road and Thwaites Places.
The building will have 36 units ranging from studios for $1,075 a month to three bedrooms at $1,892 a month.
The developer of the proposed project, Volmar Construction, said the apartments will be listed as affordable housing, according to a member of Community Board 11.
Residents of the area expressed opposition to the proposed building.
“We don’t need another apartment building, there is no parking in this neighborhood,” said Edith Blitzer, a longtime resident of the area who got rid of her family car eight years ago because of the surmounting parking issues in the area. “We’re just not for it because this area is too congested.”
According to the submitted paperwork and comments made by the developer’s representative at the last community board meeting, the apartments will not include off-street parking.
Residents and members of CB 11 who were present at the board meeting on Thursday, January 25, said Volmar Construction had pitched the project weeks prior to filing for permits.
The project’s representative explained adding parking would not be feasible.
“This builder, in my opinion, is just looking to make a fast score,” said Dominick Schiano, who lives along Bronx Park East, criticizing the property’s small unit sizes.
The studios would be as small as 450 square feet and the three bedroom apartments would not exceed 950 square feet.
“They don’t care about people who need affordable housing,” Schiano continued. “Adding another 36 units means adding another 50 cars. Just because it’s near the train doesn’t mean the people living there won’t own cars.”
The property has two addresses, for NYC Department of Housing, Preservation and Development it is listed as 2241 White Plains Roads, but on the buildings website it is 695 Thwaites Place.
Along with the three dozen units, the building is expected to have a rooftop recreational space and a cellar floor laundry room and bike room for 19 bikes.
The location sits adjacent to the IRT #2 and #5 train between the Pelham Parkway and Allerton stations.
The area is so congested that available street parking fills up almost entirely by 8 p.m. on any given night, leaving residents either stranded or searching for parking within a ten- to 15-block radius for several hours.
“It’s irresponsible for any developer to come into the neighborhood and build something that doesn’t address the needs of the people already here,” said Raphael Schweizer, chairman of the Bronx Park East Community Association, who has lived in this area his whole life.
“Some members of this community are EMS workers who come home at 1 a.m. or 2 a.m,” continued Schweizer. “They have to drive around for two hours sometimes to find parking or they end up sleeping in their cars.”
On Tuesday, March 20, a member of CB 11 and a representative from Councilman Ritchie Torres office visited a Volmar Construction site in Harlem to get a sense of the developer’s workmanship.
“The councilman is looking to bring all stakeholders and community members to the table to discuss this project, with the goal of coming to an agreement that satisfies all parties,” said a spokesperson from Torres’ office.