Construction has begun on the first phase of a $300 million, five-building mixed-use development that will eventually bring 740 units of affordable housing to a five-acre site in the Bronx that used to house a juvenile detention facility.
The first $125.5 million phase of the public-private partnership project will build 183 units for low-, very-low and low-income New Yorkers. An additional 10 percent of the units will be set aside for formerly homeless individuals. Once the development is built-out, the residential units—a mix of studio to four-bedrooms—will be affordable to low- and moderate-income families earning a wide variety of incomes.
Known as the Peninsula, the project on the long vacant block in Hunts Point has been in the planning stages for nearly five years. The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Housing Development Corp. and the New York City Economic Development Corp. have joined with development partners Gilbane Development Co., The Hudson Cos., and Mutual Housing Association of New York Management Inc. to bring the development to fruition.
The first residential phase, with studios to three-bedroom units, is expected to be completed in 2021. Two more phases will follow with Phase II expected to be completed in 2022 and the third phase between 2024 and 2025. The project is expected to create 177 permanent jobs and more than 1,600 construction jobs, according to Gilbane.
Designed by WXY Architecture + Urban Design and Body Lawson Associates, the project will also eventually include 52,000 square feet of open space with a public plaza; 56,000 square feet of light industrial space, including a kitchen step-up space for food business entrepreneurs; 53,000 square feet of community space, including a day care center and artist workspace operated by SpaceWorks; and 17,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. A health and wellness center operated by Urban Health Plan, a community sponsor of the project, will be built at the site. There will also be space provided for local entrepreneurs at below-market rents and an on-site educational facility with career-readiness programming.
The first residential phase was financed by HPD and HDC, including more than $68 million in bond financing and subsidy from the HDC. The construction loan will be serviced by Wells Fargo Bank, which is also the Low Income Housing Tax Credit equity investor. The land, the former site of the Spofford Juvenile Detention Center, is being conveyed to new ownership under a ground lease with the city facilitated by EDC.
In addition to Urban Health Plan, the development team is also working closely with community stakeholders and operators including The Point Community Development Corp., Sustainable South Bronx, The Knowledge House, Casita Maria, Rocking the Boat and BronxWorks, according to Gilbane. Others helping guide the community process have been City Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr., the Bronx Community Board 2, Hunts Point Alliance for Children, City Year, and Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice.
Development of the Peninsula is part of Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York Plan, which was recently expanded and accelerated through Housing New York 2.0. The initial goal, to complete 200,000 affordable homes, is ahead of schedule and is expected to be completed by 2022. The expanded goal includes 100,000 more homes for a total of 300,000 units of affordable housing by 2026.