Topping off of first La Central building

Topping off of first La Central building|Topping off of first La Central building|Topping off of first La Central building
Photo courtesy of Breaking Groud|Photo courtesy of Breaking Groud|Photo courtesy of Breaking Ground

Progress continues on a large-scale development that’s revitalizing a large swath of a community in the southern part of the borough.

The first of five buildings in La Central, a 992-unit apartment complex with retail, recreational and community space in Melrose, was topped off in a recent ceremony. Two more buildings are under construction as part of the first phase of the two-part project

Affordable housing developer Breaking Ground and social service provider Comunilife celebrated the project’s progress on the top of the first topped out building at 509 East 152nd Street. The two groups are developing 160-units of supportive housing in that particular building, as well as additional community space.

Brenda Rosen, Breaking Ground president and CEO, said that about 60 percent of the units in the building are set aside for formerly homeless people and the remaining 40 percent of the units are for low-income residents.

“The La Central building fits in beautifully with our overall mission and it also expands our specific goal of development in the Bronx,” said Rosen, noting that the organization will have more than 1,000 supportive housing units in the borough within two years.

There will be a gym and computer room, as well as an array of workshops, classes and activities all designed around skill building and independent living, said Rosen.

Case management and psychiatric services will be provided on-site, and a tenant services team will be in place at the building, which topped out on July 10, said Rosen.

Rosa Gil, Comunilife president and CEO, called the topping off a milestone.

Dr. Rosa Gil giving remarks during the ceremony. From L to R: Dr. Rosa Gil (president and CEO, Comunilife); Brenda E. Rosen (president and CEO, Breaking Ground); David Beer (vice president, Real Estate Development, Breaking Ground)
Photo courtesy of Breaking Groud

“Comunilife, who will manage the building, will provide enhanced services to 97 residents who are living with special needs,” said Gil. “Our goal is to provide all of the residents with a building in which they can be proud to live and a new community in which to thrive.”

The larger La Central development will feature four additional buildings with 1.1-million-square-feet that includes 992 affordable apartments for a broad range of incomes. The Breaking Ground/Comunilife building is the only building with supportive housing.

La Central is being developed by Hudson Companies, BRP, the Kretchmer Companies, and ELH Management (along with Breaking Ground and Comunilife) on what had been a vacant stretch of land in Melrose around Westchester Avenue.

The affordable housing at La Central will cater to people and households between 30 to 100 percent of the city’s median income and will be filled via housing lottery.

“Hudson and our partners are thrilled to be well on our way toward bringing 992 sustainable, affordable apartments, a state-of-the-art YMCA, and new retail to the Hub,” said Alex Kaplan, Hudson Companies project manager.

When completed, La Central will have a 50,000-square-foot Y.M.C.A. facility, a 10,000-square-foot BronxNet TV studio, a public skate park, rooftop telescope operated by Bronx High School of Science and a Grow NYC urban rooftop demonstration farm.

Currently, two additional buildings at 556 and 600 Bergen Avenue with a total of 532 apartments are under construction and scheduled to be finished in 2020, according to Hudson.

Phase 2 of the project will contain 336-units of housing.

A look at the first building to come close to being completed at La Central.
Photo courtesy of Breaking Ground

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.