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Gentrification is a very controversial topic which brings out a lot of passionate opinions both in favor and against gentrification.

The question of whether the South Bronx, particularly Melrose, Mott Haven, Port Morris, and the Lower Concourse, will ever gentrify is no longer the correct one. The question is when.

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Recently the Gothamist took it upon themselves to answer a reader submitted question on the topic and as usual of journalists who don’t walk the beat and simply research the topic by using Google, they got it all wrong in essentially saying no.

The signs are already there in the aforementioned neighborhoods.

Places like Bruckner Bar and Grill, Ceetay, and the Clock Bar cater to the denizens living in the various loft buildings of Port Morris and Mott Haven.

Former Manhattanites have snatched up Co-op apartments along the lower Concourse below 167th Street for a 3rd or even a 4th of what they would pay for one across the river.

Meanwhile in Melrose, which was one of the fastest growing neighborhoods as most of the rubble strewn lots were developed, you have developments such as the Northrose with middle income units going from $1,146 to $1,900 for a studio. Market rate condominiums opened up in several developments for the first time as well. The old YMCA Center on 161st recently sold for $6.6 million – a clear indicator of how hot the market has become.

Planet Fitness opened up the first national chain gym in the neighborhood which was immediately followed by not one but two Blink Fitness locations which is a no frills fitness center owned by the more exclusive Equinox gym.

The Opera House Hotel, the first luxury boutique hotel in the Bronx also opened in Melrose and with it, Crunch Fitness – a full service and high-end gym will be opening sometime in 2014.

With the 2 and 5 express trains at 3rd Ave and 149th Street where you can get to midtown in 15 minutes as well as the Melrose Metro-North station which gets you in as fast, it is not a question of if we will experience it but when we will begin experiencing it head on.

To that end, the Bronx Documentary Center will host the First Annual Bronx Gentrification Conference where we will go over the documented changes in the neighborhood in an effort to keep an eye on developers.

Many folks welcome new developments and changes as well as new retailers, however  we must be ever vigilant in making sure that the Bronx remains for everyone. The South Bronx is home to many of New York’s working class and immigrants painting a beautiful tapestry across our neighborhoods. We cannot let a wave of gentrification wipe it all clean and leaving behind the very people who stayed here to struggle while we were abandoned.

1st Annual Bronx Gentrification Conference

Saturday, December 7th

3-4pm Slideshow on changing NYC

4-6pm Panel discussion with academics, experts and developers

7:30-9pm Screening and Q+A of documentary film ‘Whose Barrio?’ about the gentrification of East Harlem with director Ed Morales.

Suggested Admission: $6 for Bronx residents, $12 general public. Tickets available at the door as well as in advance.

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