The development and construction boom continues (frankly it hasn’t stopped since the rise of Melrose Commons which reached a crescendo in 2011 and picked up again last year) in The South Bronx and now yet another hotel is coming to the area along with a 12 story and a 13 story mixed-income “affordable housing” apartments.
All of this is occurring on 1 block within the Lower Grand Concourse area in Mott Haven which was rezoned back in 2009 and is bound by 149th Street to the north, 146th to the south and wedged between Gerard Avenue and Exterior Street—directly adjacent to the Major Deegan Expressway and the proposed Special Harlem River Waterfront District.
Already rising on the block is the hotel at 500 Exterior Street at the corner of 146th Street and now a Hampton Inn will join that hotel on the 149th Street side where once stood a tire shop and an African food market which was displaced from just a couple of blocks north when dozens of food supply stores were evicted from the Bronx Terminal Market to create the mall with the same name now on that site along with Mill Pond Park.
The Hampton Inn Hotel reportedly will have 152 rooms making it the largest yet in the South Bronx exceeding The luxury boutique Opera House Hotel, also on 149th Street, by almost 100 rooms. According to YIMBY, the 10 story hotel will also have a rooftop lounge along with commercial space—all at the foot of the 145th Street Bridge right into Manhattan which is used by thousands of pedestrians a day.
As for the “affordable housing” units, one building will be located at 530 Exterior street at 13 stories with 157 units and a second building at 12 stories with 136 units will be located on the other side of the block at 491 Gerard Avenue.
YIMBY states that according to the developers, the residential developments will be mixed-income (which has been the trend in “affordable” housing in the area).
Why “affordable”? Simply because developers use the misnamed Area Median Income which one would think takes into account the immediate area’s median income but sadly it doesn’t. Its calculated using not just the incomes from The Bronx and NYC but also surrounding affluent suburban areas skewing the numbers ever upwards.
This creates a situation where the units aren’t affordable to local residents. In fact, an article in the Gothamist back in 2013 pointed out that in the general South Bronx area, these units are unaffordable to 81% to 100% of the population.
Anecdotal evidence seems to support this data as there are many complaints from area residents who apply for these apartments but are denied because they make too little. What ends up happening is that then these applicants are stuck paying much higher rents creating a rent burdened household of upwards 50% of income spent on rent.
These developments will be approximately the 5th through 7th within the Lower Concourse Rezoning Area to date that have broken ground and or completed since 2009.
There needs to be deeper affordability to these units for area residents to be able to enjoy the fruits of these developments coming into the area, otherwise it’s just simply gentrification under another name.