Monday, December 30, 2019

#4 STORY OF 2019

$700 Million+ Harlem River Yards Mega-Project

A ginormous development project may soon be coming to the South Bronx waterfront. Dubbed Harlem River Yards, the mega-project plans to bring the City’s first dedicated soccer stadium, with 26,000 seats, designed by celebrated architect Rafael Viñoly. The total cost is projected at more than $700 million.

The partnership is comprised of The Related Cos., Somerset Partners, and the New York City Football Club, which would be the occupying team for the new stadium.

A tower dedicated to affordable housing will hold a 25,000 square foot medical facility at it's base, as well as 150,000 square feet of retail space. 

The residential tower will hold approximately 550 affordable apartments.

New York State must first build a deck over a 13-acre rail yard in the South Bronx to allow for a massive waterfront development. The depressed urban area has been attracting more and more private investment as land costs rise elsewhere in the city.

The parcel sits along the Harlem River, just north of the Willis Avenue Bridge. 

It is currently used as a transfer station to move goods between cross-country trains and trucks that traverse the tristate area—a use the state plans to maintain going forward.

The site is part of a 96-acre area called the Harlem River Yards, which is owned by state Department of Transportation and leased to a private company, which in turn leases out many of the buildings to industrial tenants.

Because the zone is governed by something called a general project plan, the state does not need to get any local approvals to change the zoning—say from manufacturing to residential or retail—which can instead be implemented through a state approval process.

In addition to maintaining the transfer station beneath the deck, the state wants proposals that cover opening access to the waterfront, boosting the local economy.

At 12.8 acres, the site is slightly less than half the size of the Hudson Yards development going up over rail yards on Manhattan's west side.

#3 STORY OF 2019

Two Mixed-Use Towers Planned for Williamsburg Waterfront 

A new waterfront park and two mixed-use towers will soon come to the Williamsburg waterfront, north of the Domino Sugar Factory redevelopment site.

Developers Two Trees Management—also behind the Domino megaproject—unveiled a proposal to build two mixed-use towers, up to 650-feet-tall, and a six-acre park with access to the East River. The waterfront development will stretch from Grand to North 3rd street on River Street.

“We put a world-class team here together ... and really challenged ourselves to build another park with the impact and significance and social benefits as Domino Park,” Jed Walentas, principal of Two Trees Management, said at a project presentation recently. “We really thought that this site was an opportunity to change the way that New Yorkers interacted with the river and the water.”

The huge towers will have 1,000 residential units, 250 of which will be below-market rate. They will also include a 47,000-square-foot YMCA, 30,000 square feet of retail space, and 57,000 square feet of office space.

“There’s this post-industrial possibility where we can actually reimagine the waterfront as sort of a living and lively urban and natural habitat.” 

He added that one of the main missions of the project is to close the gap between Grand Ferry Park and the North 5th Pier to create a “continuous journey” of public space along the waterfront.

Perhaps one of the most noteworthy aspects of the project is its public waterfront park, which will have a circular esplanade extending into the East River, a sandy beach, tidal pools, a fishing pier, salt marsh, a boating cove on North 1st Street, and an amphitheater. There will also be community kiosks with 5,000 square feet worth of space available to community partners, kayak rental, among other things.

One of the project’s goals is to increase resiliency on the waterfront, “to really expand the river in order to create a softer shoreline and have one that has active ecological benefits as well as access benefits, and part of this strategy, is really to increase resilience,” Jed Walentas said during the project’s presentation.

“The idea of creating a series of break waters, including marsh lands and other types of things that actually slow down the waves and dissipate that energy so both the impact as well as the rebound actually get softened.”

The project will be built on the former Con Edison North First Street terminal site. Walentas said that construction should take around five years. Two Trees recently bought the 3.5-acre site for $150 million.

#2 STORY OF 2019

Massive Seven-Building South Bronx Waterfront Development 

One of the largest and most expensive developments in the South Bronx is preparing to get underway. Developer Brookfield Properties has unveiled new renderings for its massive seven-building Bankside project along the Harlem River in Mott Haven.

The development will span 4.3 acres on either side of the Third Avenue Bridge, with more than 1,350 apartments (30 percent of which will be “affordable”), a new park fronting the Harlem River, and ground-floor retail that includes a tech-focused community center. All told, Brookfield will invest $950 million into the massive mixed-used project.

But Brookfield wasn’t originally attached to this development: The site was previously owned by Chetrit Group and Somerset Partners, which had originally planned a similarly enormous complex along the waterfront. 

In 2018, those developers sold the sites to Brookfield for $165 million, for reasons that were not disclosed. Chetrit and Somerset are behind a handful of other developments throughout the South Bronx, and had unsuccessfully tried to rebrand the area as the “Piano District.”

When Brookfield took over, they kept some things—including the scope of the entire development and the architect of record, Hill West Architects—but changed up others, including the number of affordable units and the energy efficiency of the towers. The developers will aim for LEED certification.

Construction is already underway, and will be completed in two phases: The first will bring 450 apartments to the north side of the bridge at 2401 Third Avenue, with an expected completion date of 2021. The rest will rise on the south side of the bridge, at 101 Lincoln Avenue, with a completion date in 2022. 

A significant chunk of space will also be given over to a new, 34,000-square-foot waterfront park, designed by MPFP, which will have sections for “passive and semi-active use,” according to the developers.

#1 STORY OF 2019

Mega $3.5B Waterfront Development Planned for Bronx

A massive $3.5 billion project to redevelop an industrial wasteland on the Eastern edge of The Bronx could soon begin construction. 

The project, known as Fordham Landing, will be located between the Harlem River and the Major Deegan Expressway, immediately adjacent to the University Heights Bridge. 

For decades, the vacant lot at 320 West Fordham Road in the Fordham section of Bronx has sat desolate on the Harlem River.

The enormous project will cover 5 million square feet, including office space, a mix of affordable and market rate apartments, a new hotel and conference center, community spaces, and 12 acres of open spaces.

Developer Dynamic Star is planning to construct several large towers on the site. One of these will hold a 700,000-square-foot Life Sciences Center for the gene therapy industry and offices. 

A total of 2,800 residential apartments are planned to be built under the 70/30 scheme, with 30 percent of units set aside as affordable and the rest as market rate. 

Additional offerings will include retail space, a hotel, a conference center, community spaces, and an e-sports stadium.

The project’s 12.5 acres of outdoor space will be transformed into a welcoming waterfront oasis with esplanades, playing fields, and water activities like kayaking. 

Additionally, a dilapidated cove between sections of the site would be turned into tidal gardens and wetlands with an urban beach and boathouse.

Fordham Landing would certainly have an impact on the surrounding community, which has not been forgotten in the plans. 

The site is very close to the University Heights Metro North stop, and improvements to the station are being planned. 

Additionally, a new K-5 elementary school is being planned for the local community.

A development this size 3 miles north from the current Port Morris/Mott Haven Harlem River Waterfront hot spot where thousands of units are planned or under construction simply demonstrates how eager developers are to develop anywhere there is sufficient land size in The Bronx.