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Over the past several years, noticeable changes have happened in the Hub along 3rd Avenue or ‘La Tercera’ as it is affectionately known by the Puerto Rican community, who were the first latinos to settle the area, and now simply the Latino community at large.

Late this summer we saw the opening of the luxury boutique Opera House Hotel on 149th Street —the first of its kind in the entire borough of the Bronx (bringing a Crunch Fitness with it). There were naysayers that such a venture would just not work but on the contrary, it’s had a very successful run in such a short time.

National retail chains began taking a serious look at the HUB with the opening up of The Children’s Place, Planet Fitness, and Aldi Food Market — the parent company of Trader Joe’s.

Not one but two Blink Fitness gyms (the chain’s parent company is the high end gym Equinox) opened in Melrose where the HUB is located.

There is even My Wellness Solutions, a specialty wellness spa which opened up 3 years ago catering to holistic approach to health and providing a wide variety of services such as massage therapy, facials, body wraps and more.

The Bronx Documentary Center, which opened its doors a little over 2 years ago has brought thousands of people —including many long time residents— through its doors and the neighborhood to experience the gallery’s top quality and internationally reviewed exhibitions and documentary screenings.

Many of the stores along 3rd Avenue have improved and even renovated their once dingy and uninviting storefronts.

Now with the planned development of ‘La Central’, directly behind 3rd Avenue on Bergen Avenue, the area will see a flood of more middle income residents as well as low income working class individuals needing New and better services than before.

Triangle Plaza is going up on 149th Street and Bergen Avenue which will bring with it more retail space and will house Metropolitan College of New York bringing a total to four institutions of higher learning in and around the HUB.

La Central brings with it 985 units of housing which will be for low and middle income working families. As you already know from Welcome2Melrose and Welcome2TheBronx thousands of apartments have been constructed in Melrose surrounding the HUB with thousands of new working class middle and low income residents.

According to Crain’s New York, “Since 2008, 20 new buildings with 3,700 apartments have gone up around the South Bronx retail strip known as the HUB, bringing an army of higher-income residents. Now all they need is someplace to shop.” The article goes on to say that the average income of these new residents at $35,000 a year is already 50% higher than long-time residents.

Of these buildings, the Aurora Condominium along with the Orion Condominium and the Co-ops at Via Verde brought a total of 223 middle income apartments providing area residents with homeownership opportunities. This number doesn’t include the 265 condominium units at Melrose Court which was built in the 1990s nor does it include the just over a hundred newly built 1-3 family homes in Melrose surrounding the HUB.

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Both long time residents and new comers, low and middle income alike are clamoring for better services. Let’s not forget that the area is swamped by 200,000 people a day who come to visit the shopping district as well as the thousands of professional workers in the office buildings along 149th, 3 colleges and Lincoln Hospital.

Now is the time for those crafty mom and pop shops, the small business owners, and savvy retailers to make their way to the Hub and 149th Street as rents are still ridiculously low for commercial spaces.

Let’s see what happens.

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