Massive La Central “Affordable” Housing Development Finally Under Construction


It’s been three and a half years since the Bloomberg administration, on its way out the door in December 2013, announced that a 992 unit development was coming to the last large assemblage of vacant lots in Melrose at The Hub.

Last year, the development was finally approved by the New York City Council and was one of the first to have Mandatory Inclusionary Housing where a set number of units must be set aside for permanent affordability.

The first building under construction will be for 160 units of supportive housing set aside for older adults living with HIV/AIDS and veterans with mental health issues with support provided on site.

Stretching from Westchester Avenue up to 153rd Street, La Central will have 992 units along with commercial and community space totaling over 1.1 million square feet making it one of the largest affordable housing projects in The Bronx to date.

Designed by MHG Architects, F/XFOWLE, Future Green Studio, the 1.1 million square foot development will be constructed across 2 phases and include a state-of-the-art 50,000 square foot YMCA, 10,000 square foot expansion for BronxNet, 45,000 square feet of retail space, and even a rooftop astronomy lab on a 25 story building run by Bronx High School of Science.

For all its bells and whistles, though, the development is a failure in that it does not provide a home ownership component, something we were asking for since this project was unveiled.

In order to protect against gentrification, area residents need more opportunities to purchase affordable housing not just rent them and let’s not even talk about how these units are ever rarely remotely affordable for the area residents where they are constructed.

With this groundbreaking, there are no longer any lots left of significant size in Melrose, an area once mostly vacant after the burnings where the population dropped from 25,000 to just over 3,000 between 1970 and 1980.

Let’s just hope that the folks in the neighborhood who rebuilt it can find stay and enjoy the fruits of their labor.


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Ed García Conde

Ed García Conde is a life-long Bronxite who spends his time documenting the people, places, and things that make the borough a special place in the hopes of dispelling the negative stereotypes associated with The Bronx. His writings are often cited by mainstream media and is often consulted for his expertise on the borough's rich history.