New construction doesn’t happen often in Hunts Point, a peninsula in the southeastern corner of the Bronx that’s starved for retail and neighborhood services. But YIMBY noticed that excavation and foundation work had started at 925 Hunts Point Avenue, a 40,000-square-foot mall planned across from the Bruckner Expressway and next to the Hunts Point Avenue 6 train stop.
Red Lobster, Deals, McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts, and Bank of America have already signed on as tenants at the commercial complex, called The Crossings, according to the developer’s website. The sea food chain will occupy 9,000 square feet and expects to employ more than 200 workers. And the local community board told the Hunts Point Express they hope it will draw more nightlife to an area where most businesses close by 6 pm.
The fast food franchises don’t exactly inspire optimism, because the neighborhood needs more healthy food options and better paying jobs. Retailers clustered nearby along 163rd Street and Southern Boulevard include fast food joints, clothing stores, cell phone stores, and a smattering of small businesses, as well as a Planet Fitness that opened towards the end of 2013. It’s hard to justify another McDonald’s when there are already two within walking distance, as Welcome2theBronx pointed out last year.
“Hunts Point residents already suffer the ultimate irony of being neighbors with the largest food distribution industrial park in the world yet have little to no access to the healthy fruits and vegetables coming out of there,” the blogger wrote. “This disparity, coupled with the plethora of fast food joints, has contributed to our neighborhoods having some of the highest rates of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes in the city.”
And the developer isn’t building anywhere near the site’s full potential. It was rezoned to encourage medium-density, mixed-use residential development in 2008, and could support at least 97,000 square feet of apartments and ground floor retail.
Syosset, N.Y.-based Blumenfeld Development Group is the developer, and Studio 5, headquartered in Glenrock, New Jersey, are the architects.