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West Farms housing plan rezone moves forward

Bronx Times

An effort to transform an under-utilized industrial area in West Farms into a thriving residential community with affordable housing and retail space has received approval from the City Council.

The Crotona Park East and West Farms development proposed by Signature Urban Properties, would include 1,325 units of housing, 46,000 square feet of retail space and 412 new permanent jobs near where the Cross Bronx and Sheridan expressways intersect was given approval by the City Council in a 43 to 1 vote recently, with the Uniform Land Use Review Process rezoning receiving its final approval.

The five-acre project just north and south of the Cross Bronx Expressway provides convenient access to three different subway lines, and the project has widespread support, said Signature Urban Properties partner Gifford Miller.

“We had practically unanimous support from the community boards, the borough president, City Planning, and the City Council,” Miller said. “I think that there is plenty of support on the community level for replacing what is essentially a derelict industrial area with affordable housing. From the borough president, to the council members, to the community boards and community groups, there have been a number of thoughtful suggestions which we have tried to incorporate that have made this a better proposal.”

The development group is still in the process of designing the project, Miller said, but the community seems to be responding favorably.

“I appreciate that our suggestions of adding commercial overlays on West Farms Road and step streets at mid-block to open space corridors were readily included,” said Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Also, I am happy that the applicant will be committing to constructing a balanced, mixed-income community while bringing a significant number of new jobs to the Bronx.”

“Affordable housing is one of the biggest issues faced within our community, and we are excited that this project will help address this need, and at the same time provide economic development and job creation for our community,” Councilman Joel Rivera said. “Signature Urban Properties should be commended for their open dialogue and consistent outreach to the community and with all levels of government.”

According to current plans, Signature Urban Properties plans to be build ten-mixed use buildings with varied architecture, now that the area has been rezoned from light industrial to residential use. The buildings should be environmentally sound, Miller stated.

“We are committed to be as environmentally sustainable as possible, and anticipate incorporating green roof elements and using day lighting,” Miller said. “We are looking to include as many affordable environmental concepts as possible.”

The range of incomes for the housing is designed to be in the low to moderate range, Miller stated.

“We would like to see a mix of incomes among the residents, but the range will be from low to moderate income,” Miller stated. “We think that this ensures that there are customers for the retail space and affords a more stable development.”

The projected start date of the development is the fall of 2012.

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