44-Unit Market-Rate Building Planned for Highbridge: Permits Filed at 1401 Edward L. Grant Highway, Bronx

1401 Edward L. Grant Highway, image from Google Maps1401 Edward L. Grant Highway, image from Google Maps

The Stagg Group is leading the Bronx’s market-rate housing revival, with projects throughout the northern Bronx, from Riverdale to Pelham Bay.

Now, plans have been filed for another market-rate Stagg Group apartment building, at 1401 Edward L. Grant Highway (really more of a boulevard) in Highbridge, across the Bronx River from Washington Heights.

The eight-story building, arguably in the South Bronx, will hold 44 apartments over nearly 30,000 square feet of net residential space (with a very rental-sized unit average of 675 square feet), along with a 5,000-square foot retail space and 500-square foot walk-in healthcare center on the ground floor. They will be including 13 garage parking spaces in the cellar, or the absolute minimum number required by the zoning code. Badaly Architects filed the application.

The neighborhood, north of Yankee Stadium, has seen a huge uptick in demand in recent years, likely driven by rising prices in Upper Manhattan, excellent subway links (it’s just 22 minutes on the 4 train from 170th Street to Grand Central), and falling crime rates (from 1990 to 2012, homicide rates in the precinct that covers Highbridge fell a whopping 91 percent, with robberies down 80 percent). The demand seems to be coming almost entirely from Dominicans, who were neck-and-neck with Puerto Ricans in 2000, but who by 2010 had become twice as numerous as Puerto Ricans and equal in population to non-Hispanic blacks.

Between 2005 and 2010, the number of residents with a bachelor’s degree in Highbridge and around the Grand Concourse rose 37.5 percent, according to a report by the Institute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness. Median income rose from $23,179 (in 2010 dollars) to $26,731, or 15.3 percent when adjusted for inflation. Median inflation-adjusted rents, meanwhile, rose 10.5 percent, from $863 to $954 a month.

The white population in Highbridge is still small – barely more than 1 percent – but it’s one of the few neighborhoods in the Bronx where the non-Hispanic white population grew during the first decade of the 21st century, from 388 to 462 people. Their numbers will likely to continue to rise as gentrification edges up the Grand Concourse and spills over into adjacent neighborhoods like Highbridge.

For the moment, though, land is still very cheap. Stagg picked up the lot – on the corner of Shakespeare Avenue and Grant Highway, just south of the border with Mount Eden – for $1.2 million late last year, or a very affordable $34 per buildable square foot. Market-rate residential projects appear to be just on the cusp of viability, as last year we saw a filing for a one-story retail building on the site next door that didn’t even take advantage of the residential zoning.

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