PS 31 has been finally getting the attention it deserves these past several weeks. For years decades it stood neglected by the city but never forgotten by the community and those who attended school at the beloved building.
As Castle on the Concourse, a landmark building once a school to decades of South Bronx students, continues to crumble, efforts are being made to revive the structure and prevent its demolition. NY1’s Erin Clarke filed the following report.
The current state of P.S. 31, affectionately known as the Castle on the Concourse, is heartbreaking for people like Wanda Berrios.
Berrios, a former student whose grandchildren also attended the school, hates to see the building in such disrepair.
“I feel terrible, terrible, because like I told you, I would like my great-grandkids to come here, too,” said Berrios.
Berrios isn’t the only one to take notice of the eyesore, made worse by Hurricane Sandy.
This week, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. asked the city to take steps to either redevelop or demolish the building to make way for something new at the site.
“I’m not necessarily saying that we should de-landmark it, but what I did write in the letter is that we should study it and see what’s the best solution,” said Diaz Jr.
Saving the Victorian building that has memories for so many would be ideal. There’s already interest from a well-known investment banking company.
“We had a really great opportunity to meet with the folks from the Urban Investment Group of Goldman Sachs, and they saw the site and fell in love with it as quickly as we did, and they have given us a preliminary term sheet, which speaks to providing the financing for the project,” said Lourdes Zapata, senior vice president of the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, or SoBRO.
SoBRO has had a hand in creating affordable housing in the borough and is now working with Goldman Sachs on a proposal to turn the building into 39 apartments.
The project could cost $28 million, much less than what was previously thought to redevelop the property because of its condition.
“The engineering firm that we have commissioned thinks that the building is salvageable,” Zapata said. “It’s not in imminent danger of collapse despite what other agencies have thought.
“The final say in handing over ownership, however, will come from the city, which a spokesman said is currently reviewing the condition of the building, including an overview of structural issues that would have to be addressed as part of any redevelopment.