West Farms, in the central Bronx, has long been neglected and forgotten by the city. Robert Moses rammed the Cross Bronx Expressway through the area half a century ago, isolating a broad swath of working class communities from the rest of the borough. And the Bronx River, which splits the neighborhood in two, was contaminated by industrial runoff and filled with trash until community groups began cleaning it up the late ’90s. But developers are finally starting to look closely at the working class, black and Latino neighborhood.
Mikjor Shllaku, who heads a plumbing company next door in Van Nest, hopes to build a seven-story apartment building at 2015 Vyse Avenue. The development would replace two aging wood frames in the middle of the block between East 178th and 179th streets.
New building applications filed yesterday call for 26 apartments spread across 21,677 square feet of residential space, for a typical unit measuring 833 square feet.
Shllaku picked up the two houses on the site in December 2015 and March 2016, paying a combined $635,000 for both lots. He hired College Point-based architect Gino Longo to handle the design.
The project appears to be market-rate, but the developer probably expects to rely on the still-defunct 421-a tax abatement. Gov. Andrew Cuomo came up with a plan to revive the tax break last month, but his proposal required a wage subsidy for construction workers that could potentially cost the state tens of millions in taxpayer dollars. Six months before the 421-a law was set to expire, the governor declared that the Real Estate Board of New York and the construction trades unions had to hash out a compromise in order for 421-a to return. REBNY has yet to embrace the construction subsidy proposal, and much of the development in the outer boroughs will remain in limbo in the meantime.
It also turns out that Shillaku ran into some trouble with the city several years ago. Back in 2009, the then-29-year-old was arrested for trying to bribe a city investigator posing as an employee of the Department of Environmental Protection. He offered the investigator $100 in exchange for addresses where he could find broken pipes, in order to drum up customers for his plumbing business.
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