Another vacant, city-owned lot in the South Bronx is about to sprout affordable housing. The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development filed plans to build a 12-story rental building at 443 East 162nd Street in Melrose, where activists have spent decades fighting for city services and housing that locals could afford.
The 340,000-square-foot complex will be the latest addition to Melrose Commons, a development plan created by the city and neighborhood non-profits in the early 90s. It aimed to transform a huge collection of abandoned lots and industrial buildings—many of which were owned by the city—into a thriving neighborhood.
When the city finally approved the plan in 1994, neighborhood group Nos Quedamos estimated that it would cost $500 million to develop all the municipal land in the 33-block swath of the South Bronx. The Bronx Borough President at the time, Fernando Ferrer, told the Times, “We will see most of the housing constructed by the end of this decade.” The first building, Plaza de Los Angeles, wasn’t completed until 2000.
At least 11 affordable rental buildings have risen since then. Most of them were developed by Nos Quedamos and designed by Magnusson Architecture and Planning. However, Blue Sea Development is developing this project, and Danois Architects will be responsible for the design.
The development will hold 303 apartments and 301,733 square feet of residential space, plus a mix of commercial and community facilities. The ground floor will have 25,643 square feet of commercial space and a 13,300-square-foot community facility. There will be 23 to 36 units apiece on most of the upper floors, and just seven units on each of the top two floors.
The amenities include a fitness room and outdoor terraces on a few floors, as well as a 37-car garage in the cellar.