11-Story, 64-Unit Hotel Nears Completion At 926 Sedgwick Avenue, Highbridge

The former H. W. Wilson Publishing Building is on the left. 926 Sedgwick Avenue is on the right. Looking east from Manhattan. Photos by the author unless indicated otherwise.

An 11-story building is nearing completion at 926 Sedgwick Avenue in the Highbridge section of the Bronx. At 117 feet high, the building stands as a minor but noticeable addition to the Harlem River skyline. The structure perched upon the high river bank alongside both pre-war buildings and recent residential developments that flank the Major Deegan Expressway. Listed as a “transient hotel” in the building permits, the property will feature 64 units spread across 29,370 square feet of its 33,000-square-foot interior. Gerald J. Caliendo of Caliendo Architects is the applicant of record. Prasanna Venkatesha of Sita Ram LLC is listed as the owner.

Looking north from Manhattan, with the Harlem River, the Metro-north tracks, and the Major Deegan Expressway in the foreground

Looking north from Manhattan, with the Harlem River, the Metro-North tracks, and the Major Deegan Expressway in the foreground

The project is located on an 8,200-square-foot, through-block lot bordered by Summit Avenue to the east and Sedgwick Avenue to the west. Residential properties on Summit Avenue, which runs along the top of the hill, range from two to five stories in height. Despite the building address at 926 Sedgwick Avenue, Summit is the primary point of access for the project. The Sedgwick Avenue frontage sits almost 40 feet lower, where it meets the street with a rocky outcrop. Complicated ground conditions may explain why the building’s upper portion is wider than its base, which expands with setbacks at the fourth and fifth floors. Permits indicate that the building itself covers only 37 percent of its lot, leaving space for a 20-foot front yard and 59-foot rear yard.

IMG_6451-926-Sedgwick-Avenue-totheeast-cropped-small-wmark

Vertical window bands, separated by dark red lintels, stand out against the off-white façade. Protruding white ridges mark the floor plates and keep the front elevation from appearing completely flat. A red-and-white parapet conceals the bulkhead.

926 Sedgwick shares the block with an architecturally significant neighbor. Since 1929, the 30-foot lighthouse atop the eight-story 950 University Avenue towers prominently above the river. What is less noticeable is that it sits atop a book, as the building originally housed the H. W. Wilson Company, which operated printing machinery on the second and third floors with offices above. According to Forgotten NY, the lighthouse symbolized “guidance to those seeking their way through the maze of books and periodicals, without which they would be lost.”

Looking south, with the Macombs Dam Bridge in the background. Photo by Percy Loomis Sperr. May 6, 1934. New York Public Library. Image ID 701936F

When viewed from the Manhattan side of the river, the building’s vertical lines, limestone details, and setbacked silhouette, capped with the soaring steel pinnacle, almost bear resemblance to a miniaturized profile of the Empire State Building.

Source: The Vertical Urban Factory exhibit of the Skyscraper Museum

After the property was converted into a Tuck-It-Away storage facility in 2013, the lighthouse was painted bright red-orange. The storage company painted its other area pre-war property, at 261 Walton Avenue a mile downriver, completely orange.

The west façade of 926 Sedgwick looks upon an unobstructed panorama of the river and Upper Manhattan. Residential high-rises atop the New Jersey Palisades, across the other side of Manhattan, may be seen from the upper floors. The 500-foot-wide swath of land between the building and the river is crossed by the six-lane, elevated Major Deegan Expressway and its two approach ramps, as well as the approach tracks for the the Highbridge Metro-North facility, situated along the river’s low bank.

The Major Deegan Expressway and the Metro-North rail yard that separate the Highbridge neighborhood from the Harlem River. Credit: Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao for The New York Times, June 23, 2015

On the other side of the Harlem River, two-and-a-half miles north, the city is planning to cover the similar, river-adjacent Inwood Rail Yard with an elevated deck, which would support new neighborhood amenities and tech facilities. A mile-and-a-half to the south, the city is planning a river promenade and residential development in Port Morris. Yankee Stadium, surrounded by a collection of parks and athletic facilities, sits just four blocks east, with the Bronx County Courthouse two blocks further. The 161st Street–Yankee Stadium station of the B, D and 4 trains, as well as the Yankees-E. 153rd Street station of Metro-North, service the area, putting the Grand Central Terminal within a 20-minute ride.

15 Comments on "11-Story, 64-Unit Hotel Nears Completion At 926 Sedgwick Avenue, Highbridge"

  1. Great to add another hotel but… barf.

    • Yeah it’s supposed to be a Best Western. At least when the announcement of the commercial loan that’s what was said.

  2. Tyrone Phillips Knox | October 6, 2016 at 6:08 pm |

    Thanks for all the information on the publishing building. I have passed it so many times on highway. Always wondered about the lighthouse building.

  3. The river with road and buildings, raise me to a feeling of excitement on natural views.

  4. A “transient hotel”. How about being HONEST and calling what it is, a HOMELESS SHELTER. So now YIMBY is trying to change the term “homeless shelter”. Typical real estate PR Bull.

  5. I believe the city looked at the idea of building over the 207th Street subway yard in Inwood and found that it would not be feasible.

  6. Andrew Porter | October 20, 2016 at 10:59 am |

    I remember the H.W. Wilson company building because friends of mine, Ann Dietz and Walter R. Cole, worked there over many years. Wilson was a major company in the library support industry, publishing books and reference works. Now both of my friends are gone, and Wilson has, from reports above, decamped for Connecticut. With the Bronx coming back up, maybe that building can be redeveloped as housing—those views are to kill for!

  7. Proud Bronxite vs. Anonymous LLC Borough Park Slumlords | October 29, 2016 at 6:46 pm |

    I would bet money on the fact that it’s a bait & switch homeless shelter. Take a look at the Stadium Hotel and Howard Johnson which are literally up the street. Housing the homeless has become quite profitable. I guess when the City of New York is legally required to house the homeless and then offers upwards of $3K/month to house them in deplorable conditions, what slumlord wouldn’t jump at the opportunity?

  8. Hopeful in Highbridge | November 5, 2016 at 11:55 am |

    As someone who lives in the neighborhood and has advocated for improvements, I hope it is a hotel and not yet another shelter of which our neighborhood has an extremely high percentage. Highbridge has been experiencing a high rate of development and could use a comprehensive development plan as housing and shelters without proper support infrastructure (parking, shopping stores, grocery, etc) lead to further problems.

  9. Hopefully it won’t be that type of shelter, it might be a tourist shelter since Yankee stadium is not too far. Joe what needs to be done, is get people together and fight for what’s right. Go to that community board and fight, if it’s going to be a shelter, we as a community need to make sure it is used as a hotel and not a shelter, I have to agree with you, they are building all these hotels in the Bronx and turning them into shelters, it is not fair. They are making all these beautiful buildings and people do not take care of them, so what is the point? Oh, and please create parking spaces, parking, parking, parking. Everyone has cars and there is no parking.

  10. Sorry I meant it won’t be that type of hotel, it might be a tourist hotel.

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