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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.