1st Phase of Bronx Mixed-Use Project Delivers

Breaking Ground and its partner Comunilife Inc. have opened the first affordable building as part of a 1.1 million-square-foot development.
La Central. Image courtesy of Monadnock Construction

The first 161 residential units of La Central, a large-scale mixed-use project in the Bronx that will eventually have nearly 1,000 mixed-income apartments, have opened and will become home to formerly homeless individuals and low-income working adults. 

Located at 626 Bergen Ave. in the Melrose section of the Bronx, the $67 million project was developed by Breaking Ground, New York’s largest supportive housing developer, and its partner Comunilife Inc., a community-based health and housing services provider. The new units will provide apartments for 97 formerly homeless individuals and those living with HIV/AIDS, 63 low-income working adults making at or below 60 percent Area Median Income (AMI) and a superintendent.

Breaking Ground’s La Central building is part of the larger La Central project, a 1.1 million-square-foot development that will also feature retail and community space including a 50,000-square-foot state-of-the-art YMCA, new home for BronxNet Television Studios, a public skate park and a rooftop telescope operated by the Bronx High School of Science. The mixed-use development is being built by a team spearheaded by the Hudson Cos. Inc. and BRP Development Corp.

Bordered by Bergen Avenue, Brook Avenue and East 149th Street, La Central will have five buildings of mixed-income housing. In addition to Hudson Cos. and BRP, The Kretchmer Cos., ELH Mgmt LLC and the YMCA of Greater New York are part of the development and management team.  Construction is underway on at least two more buildings, according to local media reports. The buildings at 556 Bergen Ave. and 600 Bergen Ave. will contain 496 affordable housing units, the YMCA, television studio and a GrowNYC-operated rooftop garden along with ground-floor retail along Westchester Avenue.

Building Amenities

The building at 626 Bergen Ave. features ultra-efficient fixtures and water-saving appliances, a green roof and landscaped roof terrace and roof-mounted solar panels that will provide energy savings and reduce reliance on the municipal energy supply. It also includes a 4,500-square-foot community facility space. Designed by FXCollaborative and MHG Architects, the building’s general contractor was Monadnock Construction Inc.

Don Kaplan, senior partner of FXCollaborative, said in a prepared statement the Breaking Ground building sets the tones for sustainability, design and equity for the next stages of development that will create the new neighborhood-within-a-neighborhood.

Funding for this phase of La Central was provided by New York State Homes and Community Renewal, New York City Department of Housing and Assistance Corp., Wells Fargo and the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH). Environmental cleanup of the vacant parcel was funded in part by the New York City Office of Environmental Remediation. Funding for onsite supportive services is provided by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative and the New York City Human Resources Administration.

This is Breaking Ground’s seventh residence under management in the Bronx and brings the non-profit’s total unit count to 3,800 supportive and affordable apartments across New York City. Breaking Ground also has nearly 1,000 units of affordable housing and supportive housing in various stages of development throughout New York City.