Developer presents ambitious plan on former school site

Developers and city housing officials unveiled a plan for 289 units of housing and a health center in place of the former PS 31 on the Grand Concourse, but Community Board 1 urged them to go back to the drawing board.

425 Grand Concourse, the site of the former PS 31. Photo: Kimberly Chin
425 Grand Concourse, the site of the former PS 31. Photo: Kimberly Chin

Community board urges builder to accept lower incomes

Residents and community board members criticized developers and housing officials at a meeting of Community Board 1 in November, saying that current plans to build where an iconic school once stood will not benefit residents of Mott Haven. The site at 425 Grand Concourse is set to replace the defunct P.S. 31, which was razed earlier this year after the city condemned it, saying it was in a dangerous state of disrepair and could not be renovated.

Representatives from development firms Trinity Financial and MBD Community Housing Corp., along with officials from the city’s housing and planning departments, unveiled the plan at the Nov. 9 meeting. Last April Mayor de Blasio first announced that the site would be developed into affordable housing, as part of his push to create and renovate a total of 200,000 affordable apartments.

The plan includes a 28-story mixed-use complex with 289 units of affordable housing, as well as a medical, retail, educational and cultural facility and a charter school. If approved, it would be the first residential housing complex of its size in the city to be powered by passive energy and could use up to 75 percent less energy than if it burned fossil fuel, the developers said. Additionally, mechanized fresh air would be pumped in as a way to reduce asthma triggers.

Artifacts from the historic school have been preserved to line a pedestrian connector and Garrison Park Playground would be reopened at a cost of roughly $6.5 million, the development team added.

But board members said the income levels proposed would leave the apartments unaffordable for most local residents. The proposed financing plan calls for 10 percent of the apartments to be rented at 30 percent of the federal Area Median Income (AMI), 10 percent of renters at 40 percent, 30 percent of renters at 60 percent of AMI, and 25 percent each of renters earning 80 and 100 percent.

“We tend to have a lower distribution of units in the lower-income side,” said board member Cesar Yoc. He and others urged the presenters to adopt wider affordability models so young professionals and low-income residents and families can afford the rents.

Thomas Brown, senior development manager at Trinity Financial responded that, if enacted, the board members’ counter proposal could leave the developer short of some of its objectives, such as implementation of the energy efficiency model, because it would require the developer to invest more of its own funds and less city money. Under the current proposal, Trinity would provide about 10 percent of the project’s estimated $140 million cost, while the rest would be paid for with tax-exempt bonds, subsidies and grants.

The board also insisted the project create training and jobs for residents. The developers said they are teaming with Hostos Community College to develop a plan to train and hire locals for healthcare jobs at the proposed health facility, and added they would coordinate with Lincoln Medical Center.

Some were nervous that the building’s massive scale would be out of proportion with the rest of the area, dwarfing nearby buildings, but Brown countered that the urgent need for affordable housing should outweigh that concern.

“We are trying to maximize the amount of community benefits that’s needed from that site,” he said, adding that other large-scale projects slated to be built along the Harlem River waterfront factored into their decision.

“The deeper you go in affordable housing, the more subsidy you need,” said Ted Weinstein, the housing department’s director of Bronx planning.

Others were leery of the developers’ choice of Wavecrest Management to manage the building. The mention of the firm’s name sent murmurs across the room, stemming from complaints Mott Haven and Melrose residents have raised with the board over the years that the company is unresponsive to tenants’ needs and complaints. But the developers countered that Wavecrest’s portfolio is strong.

The developers concluded by trying to reassure the board that they would consider the concerns raised and will come back soon with responses.

At a subsequent meeting of Board 1 a week later, Housing Committee chair Arline Parks complained about the city’s lack of transparency in choosing a Boston-based developer, Trinity, without input from the community.

“There was no transparency as to why they got awarded” the bid, Parks said, adding that Mott Haven residents should organize to speak out against the proposed height of the complex. “Because there’s a lack of space everyone wants to go high. It’s way too big for that site.”

The site at 425 Grand Concourse is set to undergo the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) next spring.

The story was updated on Nov. 18. 


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16 thoughts on “Developer presents ambitious plan on former school site

  1. Go to West 4th Street and look around. Tell me where all the 28 story buildings are in the heart of Manhattan. They are nonexistent. The wealthy “bohemians” want to warehouse anyone that isn’t monied out of site and out of mind. They want us to live close enough to serve them but not so close as to ruin their quality of life. Greenwich Village has used and abused Zoning & Landmarks to make this happen. They aren’t the only ones. DeBlassio wants to warehouse the poor out in East New York so they don’t ruin his fairytale life in Park Slope.

    1. You are correct about “warehousing the poor”… That is exactly how the South Bronx got to be the way it is. That said – this area would be more like Chelsea than Greenwich Village. That area of the Concourse was not really a true residential area. The developer is correct though. The reality is with costs as high as they are in NY – the only way you can make “small” buildings in most places is if they are fully market rate. In fact – just behind this site – developers are already planning market rate buildings. If you want to do anything “affordable” it has to be big – unless the government is paying for it. Otherwise – developers can’t make any back. It’s a tough spot.

    2. Cherry pick much?

      A 28-story building does not make a neighborhood more or less livable. There are numerous factors as to why the West Village is attractive to so many people. One reason is regular foot traffic on arteries lined with sidewalk based commercial business.

      425 Grand Concourse is a great location for high density mixed use construction. There are numerous mass transportation options and the overall area has a high concentration of jobs, goods and services.

      The biggest issue here is the income distribution within the building. I agree with those that feel the Bronx needs more housing oriented towards a more diverse socioeconomic profile. The area surrounding 425 Grand Concourse is already largely impoverished. We need more moderate income people moving into the South Bronx, and we need more low income units in areas like the West Village.

      1. Vast portions of Manhattan south of 59th are either under zoned or completely unbuildable due to Landmarks bureaucracy. This is NYC’s CBD. This is where high density housing should be constructed first. Meanwhile city planning is proposing the absolute worst places to build i.e. next to els in the outer boroughs. I think that this entire area would be better suited as a business district that employs more Bronxites locally versus another location to warehouse new yorkers who cannot afford to reside in Manhattan’s CBD and therefore must crowd onto over capacity trains for long commutes downtown.

        1. There are significant landmark areas in Manhattan south of 59th St, but that area is also more dense than the city average. The entire city needs to grow, in fact, the entire metropolitan area near rail.

          I agree that the inner core could be more dense, but that is not the only area of the city that should or could grow.

          It especially makes sense to build housing outside the central business district near rail. Many Bronx neighborhoods with robust access to rail actually have lower populations than in the past. Look at Mott Haven and Longwood for example. Many Bronxites also live and work in the Bronx or outside the CBD.

          What needs to happen in greater investment in mass transportation expansion and modernization. Implementations are happening too slow or not at all.

          1. There are vast historic districs in Manhattan south of 59th St which restrict development. Whether or not they are “significant” is up for debate. I prefer to think of them as home owner’s associations. The Bronx has/had one of the largest collections of art deco buildings in the world. Each year those buildings deteriorate more and more due to lack of protection. We recently lost PS31, St. Augustine, and some pretty significant buildings on the corner of Tremont in the name of development.

            The entire city needs to grow I agree. However, the Bronx is in some cases growing in odd ways. How does one rationalize new towers along the western edge of Highbridge and University Heights, Morrisania, Claremont Village, Bathgate? Those areas are not within reasonable walking distance of the subway and most of the building’s occupants cannot afford the Metro North. Therefore, most occupants must take a bus to a subway in order to commute into the CBD for work. These are neighborhoods that the Regional Planning Association has classified as “No Subway Coverage”, high-density, low-income, and primarily autoless households.

            NYC City Planning is currently proposing up to R9 immediately abutting the Jerome Avenue El. Those are massive buildings to place immediately adjacent to a noisy el. No doubt they will block out the majority of daylight along Jerome Avenue. Not to mention that the 4 train is over 100% capacity.

            NYC City Planning is actually making the Bronx’s economy less diverse. Various ACTIVE industrial areas are being transitioned to residential. There is very little in the way of commercial developement beyond retail. Government subsidized housing has become the official cash crop in the borough.

            A significant amount of Bronxites do work in the CBD or often beyond the CBD in Brooklyn, Queens, NJ. As a result of our Manhattan Centric transportation system, they must commute through Manhattan in order to get to work. Until there are significant investments in the transit system which ease the pains of commuting from the outerboroughs AND until smaller CBD’s like Melrose, Fordham, Jamaica start to see significant infrastructural investment, Manhattan’s CBD remains the obvious place to locate the majority of residential density in NYC.

            Note that the densest neighborhood in Manhattan is the Upper East Side which technically isn’t even in the CBD. It had one subway line. It now has 1 1/2 subway lines. The Lexington Avenue line remains one of the most congested lines in NYC. Within the Bronx, the city is upzoning along the Lexington Avenue catchment area further aggravating an issue which has been common knowledge for over a half century. There is a complete disconnect between city planning and the existing and guaranteed future transportation development in the Bronx. Last time I checked the Second Avenue line is no longer being extended to the Bronx nor is the Third Avenue El being replaced. Take a look at Page 35 of Nelson Rockefeller’s plan called for a 3rd Avenue El replacement along Park Avenue REGARDLESS of whether it was part of the Second Avenue Line extension or connected with one of the existing IRT lines. The report also states that the Bronx’s transportation needs supercede the extension of the Second Avenue Subway south of midtown.

          2. We have to be realistic here.

            The historic districts will not be touched, it won’t happen. We won’t see new highrises on West 4th St, and that’s that.

            I agree that the entire GC should be landmarked (ridding the concourse of less desirable construction like automotive facilities), but IMO PS31 was not a significant loss as some people make it out to be.

            I agree that the Bronx needs a replacement for the Third Ave El, but who are we to say that it will never happen. It most likely will happen, it’s just going to take a lot longer than it should. As the population becomes more affluent and larger, the demands for improved transportation will lobby politicians into action. Right now the Third Ave corridor is poor and a shell of it’s former self.

            The Bronx is becoming more socioeconomically diverse, it has been changing for some time now. I can’t sympathize with the loss of automotive facilities, especially considering the negative externalities for the community.

            The redevelopment of Jerome Ave will be much more positive for the area. We’ve seen something like this before with Melrose Commons. The sunlight issue is irrelevant to the vast majority of people who live there. It won’t be dark, it will just have less direct sunlight. The corridor already has reduced direct sunlight onto the street because of the elevated tracks. People along Jerome Ave want more consumer choices, potential jobs, housing, and a few accessible greenspaces. What they don’t want are private automobiles parked on the sidewalk, double parked, directly polluting businesses, hazardous conditions, and services that most do not ever use.

            And although Manhattan might be the best place to locate everyone, it’s not going to happen. What the city can do is invest in mass transportation/walkability/bicycles to get people around, and create more Manhattan like areas across the city. Focus development on hubs and places where increased density is feasible while avoiding substantial development in East Queens or SI for example.

            I don’t think there is a disconnect between City Planning and reality for the most part. There are politics involved, planners only have so much agency.

          3. The lobbyists who pressed for “historic” districts are well aware that they will not be touched. They have effectively used landmarking to create a taxpayer funded home owners association that limits supply, strain on infrastructure and artificially inflates their property values.

            PS 31 is a hell of a lot more architecturally and historically significant than the majority of the drab tenaments included in the recent Greenwich Village extension and basically everything in the proposed Gowanus Historic District.

            The City of New York is manipulating a population of low income often poorly educated Bronxites that are desperate for quality housing that they can afford. This population is so desperate they will take the housing just about anywhere. However, that does not imply highly educated urban planning professionals should encourage the construction of high density housing in inappropriate locations i.e. remote from transit, immediate adjacent to highways and els, etc. The fact is that lower income New Yorkers are getting steered into thd Bronx because it is the only borough building anywhere close to relation to demand and is thereby remaining relatively stable property value wise. If the high density affordable and supportive housing was being constructed in Downtown Brooklyn, LIC, Manhattan, etc these lower income New Yorkers would move there and would oftentimes be significantly closer to their place of employment. However, it is evident that the City of New York is applying its legal authority to promote socio-economic segregation.

            If you travel down Jerome Avenue where the buildings are low scale or setback from the el there is a decent amount of light and air. If you go to parts where massive buildings are built adjacent to the el, natural light is cut off. Under the actual stations, natural light is completely cut off. Burnside station is a perfect example. It just so happens to attract the highest amount of vagrancy.

            The entire strip was designed to focus retail on the major cross streets. Retail has popped up to some extent on Jerome Avenue. That does not imply that it ought to be encouraged. Mixed use multi-story commercial spaces on the cross streets could quench the demand.

            What the Jerome Avenue Study area is severely lacking north of Mullaly Park is parkland. The Bronx may be the borough of parks but you certainly wouldn’t know it if you spent the day in the Jerome Avenue study area. There is not sufficient open space to serve the existing population let alone for 80,000 additional residents. If you wonder why gang activity is so prevalent in this area, the answer is there is nothing for kids to do besides play in the streets or fight over the use of like 3 basketball courts along the entire stretch.

            I can debate this all day long because (1) I actually have resided in the area for approx. 16 years (2) I have significant professional credentials and experience on the matter. If the Bronx director of city planning thought this was such a great idea, she’d be proposing affordable and supportive housing towers along Broadway and throughout her Fieldston wannabe neighborhood.

          4. Your opinion about PS 31 is not shared by most people. It’s also too late to dwell on it because the school was demolished. The city should be more selective when it comes to historic districts but right now it is unlikely that any of them will be redeveloped.

            You complain about housing being constructed in remote areas, and simultaneously complain about a lack of affordable housing. You can’t have it both ways. In real life, communities oppose density, so you are limited to where you can allow for it.The city is also largely built out, there is housing in every section of the five boroughs. E 144th St and Grand Concourse and the Jerome Ave corridor are actually great places for increased density. I wouldn’t call them remote, and it’s better than building on City Island or a suburban county.

            I agree that housing should be prioritized in the core, but because it is unlikely that we can add significant density to the West Village, the next best thing are mass transportation hubs. Most new high density construction today is occurring near rail.

            You also have to think beyond NYC. Lower income people are getting displaced, but imagine how many would leave the city if there was no new housing available in the outer boroughs. These people would likely end up in auto-centric suburbs and contribute to sprawl.

            Your complaint against building height due to light is again of little importance to the vast majority of people. There is a lack of direct sunlight and shadows cast from the elevated tracks today. The difference will be negligible. Can we move beyond that complaint because no one is going to stop the rezoning of an area full of single story automotive facilities on account of shadows. Anything built is going to be taller than what exist. And considering an increased population and economic diversity there will be demand for new commercial spaces. If not immediately, in time; we live in a consumer society. The Jerome Ave corridor is going to become wealthier following this rezoning as well, just look at the proposed rental guidelines. They are unlikely to be adjusted substantially.

            I agree that the area could use some parkland, but the majority of space should be allocated for other uses. And the criminality in the area is largely the product of poverty. Access to parks may not be that influential. Saint Mary’s Park, Soundview Park and Crotona Park are surrounded with communities that suffer significant violent crime among youth.

            I lived a few blocks east of Jerome Ave from the mid-80s into the mid-1990s. I grew up in the Bronx, though I left for a few years to live in another global city and then returned a few years ago. I do frequent Jerome Ave and have attended the rezoning meetings. I currently study planning as a career change, and have listened to varied opinions regarding this area in particular. I am aware of what is occurring and have weighed the pros and cons while considering the feasibility. Jerome Ave will be rezoned for more density, and a high density mixed use construction will be built at E 144th St and Grand Concourse.

          5. How do you know what “most people” think about PS31. Have you surveyed the community? I was present at the community board meetings where there was very vocal disent with regard to its demolition.

            The majority of Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island are low scale. 10451 and 10453 are denser than any zip code in those boroughs and the majority of Manhattan. I could care less if NIMBYs in other boroughs don’t want high density affordable housing dragging down their property values.

            Don’t give Bronxites a guilt trip about not housing our fair share of the impoverished. We have done a better job at it than any urban county in the nation. Pass that guilt trip onto the other 4 boroughs.

            The entire reason zoning was created was to address quality of life issues such as overpopulation of specific districts, light, air and public health issues. Lack of light is definitely a community concern. Numerous community members along Jerome Avenue, the J line in Brooklyn, Kensington in Philadelphia and just about every other el in the world are cognizant that lack of light promotes vagrancy and crime. As a community member I demand NYC city planning develop a topographically accurate massing model of their proposed zoning with and provide an light study. Moreover, air quality test also ought to be conducted.

            Suggesting that the urban fabric has no impact on youth criminality is patently false. Open space and greenery makes a difference. There are plenty of studies to support this.

            Yes I am sure you and the entire Department of City Planning would like to convince the community that this is a done deal. We shall see. Hopefully it will be defeated like has occured with numerous other rezoning proposals of late.

          6. Most people in the community saw PS 31 as useless abandoned building. The proposal includes more possible housing, community and commercial spaces. Of course most people are going to prefer the latter. Those are the things that people in the community want.

            Regardless, it’s gone.

            SI is not a good place to build a lot of housing due to more limited transportation options and distance from the largest job center (and they are still building regardless there, though not as dense as the rest of the city). West Queens in particular is seeing a lot of more dense construction and with MIZ will see a lot more affordable units constructed. Same with North Brooklyn and Upper Manhattan.

            As for light, unless the buildings are one or two stories, there is going to be much less direct sunlight. That is totally unlikely and not a primary concern. We both know that whatever gets constructed along Jerome Ave will be at least 5-6 stories, though likely taller. Even 5-6 stories would completely block any direct sunlight.

            I agree that open spaces and greenery do help, and I never stated otherwise. However, I would argue that new housing with higher income residents has a greater effect. As will more non-automotive street activity due to sidewalk based commercial spaces.

            And please tell me what rezonings were defeated?

            •The Central Park complaints about shadows were ignored.
            •The Lower Grand Concourse, Hudson Yards, LIC, and downtown Brooklyn/Atlantic Yards were rezoned for more density.
            •East NY, Jerome Ave, East Midtown and East Harlem are being rezoned for more density.
            •Southern Blvd is next up for more density. Expect many more areas soon.
            •Luxury condos are making way in the South Bronx.
            •New construction in the Bronx, and city in general is more dense than in years past.
            •Average rents are climbing.

          7. You have provided no evidence that “most people saw PS31 as useless”. It was an existing NYC Landmark which obviously required some level of community support to achieve. SOBRO expressed direct interest in facilitating its restoration. There was an online petition with over a thousand signatures with many personal narratives as to why the building was important to the community: There are also numerous successful precedents for situations like this. PS 186 was converted to housing: The Corn Exchange in Harlem literally rose from rubble: One could easily argue that the Corn Exchange was “gone” before it rose once again. I should note that there is an active peition to save 1800/1880 Grand Concourse brought forward by the community:

            Staten Island is just one ferry stop from the world’s economic hub. There is a boondoggle ferris wheel being constructed on one potential housing site. Despite a few exceptions, Western Queens and Brooklyn is still by in large significantly lower scale than the South Bronx. Talk to any ignorant hipster and they will tell you how “far” away the Bronx is. So why is it then that the Bronx has some of the densest zip codes in the city if it is so far from the action? Is it just to warehouse the working class out of sight and out of mind? No borough has provided as high a percentage of government subsidized low-income housing as the Bronx.

            As I previously stated light & air issues were at the foundation of why zoning was created in New York City. If planners are not going to protect public health, what is your purpose? Is it just to corrupt the real estate market? #1 There doesn’t HAVE to be any buildings constructed along Jerome Avenue. It could all be parkland. The City could acquire the property in much the same way that it acquires waterfront property. If parkland were along Jerome Avenue its catchment area would serve much more of the borough’s population than a waterfront park. #2 Who says that the buildings have to be at least 5-6 stories? #3 The city is proposing up to R9 along Jerome Avenue which is 13-16 stories. #4 If City Planning offered up solar studies it would be fairly evident that there is a direct correlation between building height and the amount of sunlight that reaches the streetscape.

            You stated that the new housing will be higher income. What is your evidence? Almost every new multi-family in the vicinity of Jerome Avenue in CB5 has been supportive housing. This is what we will be getting: The poorest New Yorkers warehoused along the dark dirty noisy el.

            As a community resident, I do not find the automotive activity offensive. It is tradesman work on display. Note that there are also millworkers, electrical suppliers, hardware stores, etc on this thoroughfare. The only entities really bringing problems along Jerome Avenue are the new shelters at 1769 & 1921 Jerome Avenue AND the methadone clinic at 1995 Jerome Avenue. I expect with the proposed rezoning we will see more things like this.

            Rezoning defeated:
            Manditory Inclusionary Housing



            Flushing West:

            The Central Park Shadows are not comparable to the underside of an el lined with towers.

            The level of development is significant slower than it was in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s. It is not keeping pace for demand. The stagnation of development is directly a result of the corruption of the market by zoning and landmarks.

            Average rents will always be climbing as long as there is inflation AND zoning & landmarks restricts supply.

          8. PS 31 is gone. Most people care more about housing, community, and commercial space than historical significance. Impoverished communities especially due to more pressing needs. The above proposal is a better use of a prime location. No need to beat this dead horse.

            While I do agree that some structures should be landmarked, in many cases I personally do not. You just made the statement earlier that lower Manhattan has vast areas that are unnecessarily landmarked.

            More housing has been constructed in Brooklyn and Queens over the last 10 or so years than in the Bronx. I feel that more affordable housing should be built in more affluent communities, but that does not exempt the Bronx from being developed. I personally want to see more mixed income and market rate housing in the South Bronx. Staten Island is a unique case transportation wise and it is not as simple as a ferry stop. Most of the population has a commute to the ferry itself. The North Shore should indeed be upzoned, but the political feasibility of a dramatic upzoning is less likely than along Jerome Ave for example. We’re not going to halt the rezoning of another part of the city in order to deal with the NIMBYism on SI.

            Inwood was a spot rezoning, and though the proposal was shortened, it will still be twice as tall as adjacent structures. Sunnyside and Flushing West will give into pressure in time due to adjacent development. All of these were losses for affordable housing advocates. I would argue that development is slower due first and foremost to political opposition to density that didn’t exist when the city was expanding along undeveloped tracts of land surrounding rail lines during the late 1800s and early 1900s.

            Planners must indeed take public health into consideration but a lack of direct sunlight is secondary to housing and job accessibility. It is totally unlikely that the lots banking the elevated tracks at Jerome Ave will become a park in totality. It’s so unlikely that it isn’t even worth arguing about. There will be new park space, but it will be a small portion of the overall square footage.

            And you said it yourself. While most of the housing with close proximity to Jerome Ave has been historically low income, not all it has been. Mixed income housing is far more popular and is preferred by today’s most influential stakeholders. Expect more mixed income housing with annual ranges exceeding the neighborhood average.

            And finally, the current business are problematic for the community. Automotive facilities are not as useful in a community where the vast majority of people do not drive. The excess traffic on Jerome Ave as a result is a public health problem, both physically and socially. Jerome Ave should be a mixed use corridor, it makes sense considering the rail accessibility. Apparently most people agree, including most residents.

          9. I am sure our city government would love Bronxites to quickly forget the massive governmental failure that was PS31. Meanwhile, here is another example of a historric school being repurposed in Manhattan:

            “Most people care more about housing, community, and commercial space than historical significance.” What are you basing this off of? Personal opinion?

            The Bronx is impoverished because our city, state and federal government have done everything possible to make it so. If it was left to the market, it would have gentrified a long time in point. Case in point, Goldfarb Properties had one of their fastest lease outs ever of market rate apartments at 1700 and 1770 Grand Concourse. Meanwhile, our government continues to fund project after project of supportive housing, homeless housing, cluster site housing, voucher housing in that immediate neighborhood. In fact, Councilman Cabrera allocated $500,000 towards the demolition of 1800/1880 Grand Concourse so a facility for formerly homeless could be building in its place. Gof forbid it become a youth center to keep area teens off the streets and doing something positive and productive.

            Shouldn’t we demolish the entire low-scale neighborhood of Greenwich Village because after all high density affordable housing is a better use of the neighborhood. Unfortunately, we cannot because it is landmarked. Wait wasn’t PS31 landmarked? Wow this is so confusing how our city government treats different parts of the city in contradictory ways.

            10451 and 10453 are denser than any zip code in Brooklyn and Queens. Even if your statement is true, which I have my doubts, it is irrevelevant. Both boroughs have a long way to go before they catch up with the population density of the West Bronx.

            Why is the political feasibility of a dramatic upzoning is less likely than along Jerome Ave? Is it because Staten Islander’s better understand the negative consequences of overpopulation?

            I like how you are able to spin City Planning failures into wins.

            Zoning didn’t exist when the city was expanding along undeveloped tracts of land surrounding rail lines during the late 1800s and early 1900s. The New York City 1916 Zoning Resolution was a measure adopted primarily to stop massive buildings such as the Equitable Building from preventing light and air from reaching the streets below. Light and Air! Light and Air! Light and Air! Let those two words get engrained into your head.

            If job accessibility was a concern, the city would be building more affordable housing in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn where the vast majority of working class Bronxites who commute via subway work.

            I like how dismissive you are about Jerome Avenue eveer becoming a greenbelt. In contrast, making it an overpopulated stagnant lightless corridor makes total sense. I dismiss that as the most assinine idea I have ever heard. Note that there is ZERO new parkland in the Jerome Avenue proposal. It only calls for the renovation of existing parkland which should have been renovated decades ago. Meanwhile the city is holding the area residents hostage making it seem like they must support the rezoning in order to acquire parkland and infrastructure upgrades.

            I will expect low income because only those who have to live next to an el will live next to an el. CASA is spreading gentrification fears as if yuppies have some great desire to listen to the roar of the subway line 24/7 and then attempt to commute on a line which is over 100% capacity.

            Those automotive businesses employ residents of the community typically at better wages than retail which is basically the bottom of the barrel. The excess traffic along Jerome Avenue will only become more excessive if you add ten of thousands of new residents. Some will drive. Some will use livery service. Guess what wouldn’t prompt increased vehicular traffic congestion. That’s right it’s parkland.

            Jerome Avenue has “rail accessibility”. That’s right. It has rails on an el which carry trains to are OVER 100% CAPACITY. REPEAT OVER 100% CAPACITY. SAY IT AGAIN OVER 100% CAPACITY. Do you get it yet?

            “Most people agree” according to a planner who clearly wants to steamroll this awful project through. Thanks for your opinion. Let me know when you have some actual facts that suggest Jerome Avenue is not the worst place in New York City to add high-density housing.

          10. PS 31, gone. End of story. I would argue that the proposal in the Bronx is better than that repurposed school in the Village. It offers way more for the community.

            Here is a soundbite of people who attended a local Jerome Ave rezoning meeting. Local residents. Not one mention of landmarking or light. Affordable housing is the biggest concern by far. This is what I heard at the meetings myself and what immediate locals have discussed with me.


            Moderate (like much of SI) and higher income areas have less low income people, so they have more influence when it comes to policy. That’s just reality. Lower income residents are less likely to be politically active. SI also has a different character than the Bronx, and is generally less receptive to density. Bronxites are more accustomed to larger apartment buildings. The is also more ready to support that kind of construction.

            The Bronx is impoverished because of middle income flight post WWII. Automobiles, sprawl, migration, a whole lot of factors involved. There was a substantial amount of low income housing built, reinforcing that demographic over the following decades. Since the 1980s though there has been lots of new investment. A lot of lower income housing, but not all of it. In recent years, we are seeing way more housing diversity in comparison to the later part of the 20th century. There’s even legit luxury housing appearing in the South Bronx.

            There are already community spaces available across the Bronx, including a brand new one along Jerome Ave. While I agree this is a good thing, in most cases housing is more important. How many community centers does a community need? Housing is a more pressing need.

            Parks are again nice amenties, and the city will likely get pressured to provide some park space. I’m not against some parkland, but I am against converting the whole strip into a park. It is extremely unlikely too. Investments in nearby parks are a good thing.

            The historical character of the Village has become valuable to the city. The look and feel draws tourists and revenue. It’s not going to change. The Bronx has good historic districts worth protecting (e.g. GC), but PS 31 is gone.

            And living by the El is not really bad. Plenty of new buildings near elevated tracks, and plenty of demand. Have you ever been to Bushwick for example? Many people like to live close to mass transit, especially rail. Modern buildings are especially good about the noise. There are plenty of new buildings adjacent to elevated tracks.

            Rents in the area are rising, and will continue to do so as housing becomes more expensive citywide. This is not a myth. In fact, it’s been more dramatic in recent years.

            The automotive businesses draw a lot of automobiles from outside the community. They also end up on the sidewalk, driving into and out of garages. They jam up the street while double and triple parked down Jerome Ave. Commercial activity will spur traffic, but you won’t have people parked in pedestrian space. I personally support making Jerome Ave a bus only corridor, which would relieve the subway substantially. And better wages? Eh, arguable. More similar than not. Still low income with nonexistent upward mobility for most. And commercial storefronts do not have to only provide low cost retail.

            Jerome Ave is within walking distance of two rail rapid transit lines, various buses and the Metro North. We can improve capacity more readily than in most other areas. With the right investment, you can run more trains per hour for example.

            Get ready for a new Jerome Ave.

          11. I have previously responded to numerous assertions you have made above. So, I will focus only on the new.

            LIGHT and NOISE associated with the el was brought up in the visioning sessions. See

            So basically what you are saying is Bronxites are poor, politically weak and therefore easier targets for NYC City Planning to impose overdevelopment. Of course, this is being done because DeBlassio cares so much about poor people. He cares so much that he doesn’t want to rezone his neighborhood which is more proximate to Downtown, is served by numerous subways that are not over 100% capacity, has excellent good school and great parks, etc. No he cares about poor people so much than he wants to facitate their relocation from gentrified Brooklyn into the Bronx into an overcrowded dystopian environment where the streetscape never sees the light of day. Because, nothing helps poor people more than concentrating them together in overcrowded economically homogenous conditions.

            A significant percentage of the housing built in Community Board 5 is targeted for poorer individuals than the average resident. Homeless shelters, cluster site housing, supportive housing for the formerly homeless and/or mentally ill. A lot of these buildings are on significantly more desirable sites than Jerome Avenue. As I previously noted, even 1800/1880 Grand Concourse is being considered for supportive housing.

            New York YIMBY does a fairly good job of identifying all the new construction in the Bronx. There may be a handful of “luxury” projects, but the overwhelming majority of projects in the Bronx are some form of supportive housing targeting ultra-low income oftentimes with some form of addiction or mental disability. Now you tell me how the Bronx is going to ever stop being the poorest urban county in America when the majority of new construction housing is legally mandated to be rented to low-income individuals. The government is guaranteeing it be the poorest urban county much as it has done via policy decisions since the mid-20th century.

            I agree housing is a pressing need. How about building high-density housing in neighborhoods rife with resources such as Park Slope?

            A neighborhood needs as many community centers as possible to serve its population. Is this pool large enough to serve the tens of thousands of residents of Mount Eden and Mount Hope: There is no pool at the Mount Hope Community Center. However, you ought to familiarize yourself with the design as the architect’s primary focus was daylighting and greening the neighborhood:

            “The city will likely get pressured to provide some park space” i.e. they may renovate some of the numerous abandoned and severely delapidated existing parks. Those parks should have been renovated decades ago. But again we are being held hostage by the City of New York. Last I checked there was no NEW parkland proposed in the Jerome Avenue Rezoning.

            So basically you view the Village as Disney World and all the poor workers are warehoused out of sight out of mind?

            The suggestion that modern buildings are great for being adjacent to els is nonsense. Modern low-income housing typically uses PTAC’s for heating/cooling which are extermely expensive to run. As such, residents will open their windows whenever possible. There goes all noise mitigation from the el. By the way, will the apartments come with Hepafilters to absorb all the brake dust from the el.

            Honestly, I do not care if hipsters in Bushwick are living next to the el. They probably will move there for a year because they think it’s cool and then realize it’s godawful to live next to an el and move along. I had a good friend who lived next to the el in Bushwick. He had constant issues with air pollutants getting all over his apartment despite cleaning regularly. Eventually, he got tired of it and moved. Unfortunately, the ultra-low income and supportive housing residents who will likely inhabit the apartments closest to the tracks will most not likely not have the luxury of moving.

            Rents will always continue to rise because of inflation. What’s your point? They will also rise because our oppressive zoning regulations prevent construction to keep pace with demand. Hence, why a growing contingent want to get rid of it altogether. Unfortunately, this form of market corruption is so intertwined into property values that its elimination would have significant and potentially unpredictable repercussions.

            So we will replace double-parked cars with double parked delivery trucks to support businesses and residents. There will be livery vehicles and personal vehicles. Of course, there will be insufficient off-street parking for residents that do own vehicles.

            The 4 train is MAXED out. Perhaps, you ought to discuss with the MTA before making assumptions. In addition, the D line service was recently reduced. The Hudson line requires summiting a small mountain to access. The Harlem Line isn’t really that close either plus the schedule and fares are prohibitive to area residents. Buses…give me a break!

            Oh I am ready for urban planning’s biggest failure since urban renewal and the housing projects. Hindsight will be 20/20. However, some of us already know what’s coming and it will not be pretty.

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