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Special Harlem River Waterfront District in the South Bronx / image ©Welcome2TheBronx.com

In a pro-gentrification piece written by The New York Times, it was announced by one of the developers of the three 25 story residential towers (of 6) planned for the South Bronx Harlem River waterfront, that 1 bedrooms would rent for a mind-blowing $3,750.

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Just last week MNS, a company which compiles real estate data, reported that the average 1 Bedroom Manhattan apartment rents at $3,157 and in a doorman building it’s at $4,294.

How does Keith Rubenstein, president of Somerset Partners who will be developing these towers in conjunction with the Chetrit Group, justify such rents based on that data?

Sure the area is proximate to Manhattan and main centers of employment but that still doesn’t justify such extravagant prices.

The placement of these towers will be in an area that is physically separated from the rest and in the age of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign to end the tale of two cities…well this is everything but an end and a beginning in the creation of two cities within a neighborhood.

On one side you have some of the highest concentration of public housing in various NYCHA developments with thousands of residents and 40% living at or below the poverty line and on the other side you will have ritzy glass towers along a waterfront that we should be building waterfront access and making it resilient against climate change versus these proposed towers.

What about working families, low and middle income? These rents are far from middle-class affordability.

I’m all for a mixed-income neighborhood and there is room for everyone but the South Bronx is an area that should be developed carefully—but we already know that developers are only out for top dollar with no consideration of the neighborhoods they invade.

Who is going to pay such money in an area that has some of the dirtiest air in the city where residents and children suffer from 8x the national average of asthma not to mention sits in a flood zone that was flooded by Sandy? Are people going to really pay these prices with these conditions when they can pay the same in Manhattan?

The developers have also been picking up retail spaces in the area to begin luring outside restaurants and businesses and encourage them to open up with an eye on the future residents of these towers—not the existing population in the general area of the South Bronx who call the area home for generations.

Now with developers with easy access to major capital, it’s going to be even harder for small business owners to stay or open up as landlords now have these developers willing to rent out these spaces for top dollar.

What will become of our neighborhood when we can no longer afford it? What will become of the South Bronx when it’s no longer even recognizable to those that fled it decades ago and is even out of reach to that generation of Bronxites?

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