Comunilife and Partners Awarded the Bronxchester Site for La Central: A New Community Development Project
On Saturday, December 21, 2013, Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that Comunilife, Inc. (www.comunilife.org) and its partners The Hudson Companies, the BRP Companies,Common Ground Community HDFC, Inc., the Related Companies, the Kretchmer Companies, ELH Management, Inc. and the YMCA have been awarded the Bronxchester site for a new community development known as La Central. This is the last large remaining assemblage of City owned vacant land in the South Bronx.
Located in the Hub neighborhood of the South Bronx, La Central will create 985 units of affordable housing, empowering community services and innovative recreation space to the community. Each of the partners brings with them years of experience that will ensure that all phases of La Central will be developed with the highest quality to ensure that all of the proposed goals are met.
In his remarks, Mayor Bloomberg said that “our administration has worked for 12 years to bring new life to the South Bronx by lowering crime, improving our schools and ensuring opportunities exist in neighborhoods all across the borough.”
Dr. Rosa M. Gil, Comunilife’s President and CEO stated that “the La Central project will help transform the South Bronx into a thriving 21st Century community that provides much needed affordable housing and the social, recreational, educational, and health services that are necessary for a neighborhood to succeed. With 985 new families moving into the community in the next five years, the Hub will truly be the center of The Bronx’s re-emergence as a destination place in which to live and work.”
The benefits achieved by the community will begin during the construction phase. Totaling more than one million square feet, in five buildings, La Central will generate over 1,010 multi-year construction jobs and, when completed, over $528 million in economic output for The Bronx and New York City. The developers are committed to keeping the hiring local with 35% of the construction jobs going to Bronx residents. In addition, at least 30% of all work will be provided by minority and women owned businesses.
The Bronxchester development site comprises five tax lots bordered by Bergen Avenue, Brook Avenue and East 149th Street, and encompasses approximately 184,500 square feet. When complete the site will create a thriving mixed-income, mixed use development consisting of five separate buildings.
Comunilife and Common Ground will co-develop a supportive housing program which will include 64 apartments for low income housing and 96 supportive units for New Yorkers living with special needs. Comprehensive case management and social services will be provided to the residents of the 96 supportive apartments. The building will also include Comunilife’s Vida Guidance Center, a 10,000 square foot community mental health clinic, which will provide comprehensive community mental health services to children, adolescents, adults and seniors; as well as Life is Precious™, an innovative program for Latina teens who have seriously considered or attempted suicide and Mi Salud, an integrated physical and mental health program for Latino Seniors. Other highlights of the La Central development include:
- 985 affordable units for households earning between 30% and 100% AMI of which 96 are designated as supportive housing and 142 units will be allocated for Teach for America teachers
- 45,000 square feet of street-level retail space managed by The Related Companies
- A state-of-the art 48,000 square foot YMCA complete with two pools, fitness center, and wellness center
- A diabetes prevention and management center run by Montefiore Hospital and the YMCA.
- 20,000 square feet of community space for Phyls Day Care, Music Has No Enemies (music program), Nos Quedamos, and other community empowerment activities.
- A 7,000 square foot skate park
- A 9,000 square foot rooftop farm managed by GrowNYC
- The Bronx Astronomy Tower: a rooftop mounted SDSS telescope that will be operated remotely by the Bronx High School of Science and broadcast Citywide allowing NYC schools to expand their physical science education.
It is anticipated that La Central’s predevelopment activities will begin in early 2014.