After almost three years since it was announced, the mega project La Central has moved one step closer to reality as New York City Council approved this development yesterday.
With 992 units planned, a 50,000 square foot YMCA, 10,000 square foot television studio for BronxNet, and also an astronomy lab and observation deck among many other features, La Central is one of the biggest mixed residential and commercial developments coming to The Bronx.
It’s also one of the first that will include the controversial Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) which mandates that a number of units must be set aside as permanently affordable.
The number of units under MIH depends on which option the developer, in this case Hudson Inc, chooses.
The five building development will range from 12 stories to 25 stories with green rooftops fitted with 600,000 watts of solar power that promises a reduction by 50% on energy and reliance on the local grid according to Hudson Inc.
The 992 units will be a mix of studios, one, two, three, and four bedroom apartments with approximately 160 units set aside for older adults living with HIV/AIDS and veterans with mental illness while providing on site support via CommunLife.
While this affordable housing development seems great on paper, we already know that those who truly need deep affordability—the residents who live in the immediate area of Community Board 1, will not qualify for these apartments even though 50% of these units will be set aside with a preference for those residents.
With such a massive development, La Central also fails at providing opportunities for home ownership as was done at neighboring Via Verde which is a mix of cooperative apartments and rental units.
By not providing homeownership opportunities at La Central, the development misses a great opportunity to provide stability by way of ownership to the community.
Home ownership by way of affordable houses, coops and condos have already demonstrated market acceptance by local qualifying residents.
Without homeownership, the community has very little defense against encroaching gentrification.
No official date has been set for groundbreaking, but once it commences, this will be the fourth major development under construction in Melrose with almost 2,000 units spread throughout these projects.