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City envisions major changes for Webster Ave.

Bronx Times

A major Bronx corridor crisscrossing a spectrum of nabes is set to rebrand itself as a key economic player.

Officials with the Economic Development Corporation announced what they termed a “Vision Plan” for a portion of Webster Avenue, specifically along the neighborhoods of Norwood and Fordham Road.

It’s there where the city envisions a sort of “main street,” complete with more small businesses, cultural amenities and a hallmark business incubator intended to provide an economic shot in the arm to a borough with the worst jobless rate in the state.

A Request for Proposal is now available until Apr. 19 to operators looking to run the incubator, part of the Leveraging Innovations and our Neighborhoods in the Knowledge (LINK) Entrepreneurship Program.

The program will provide 30 aspiring Bronx-based merchants with business loans, incubator space, and meet and greet opportunities with already established institutions such as The Bronx Zoo, Fordham University, The New York Botanical Garden and Montefiore Medical Center.

The quadrant of groups make up the Four Bronx Institutions Alliance, considered the economic bait to the lofty endeavor intent to drive up tourism.

“The vision plan for Webster Avenue provides a roadmap,” said EDC head Seth Pinsky. “Not only for connecting great Bronx neighborhoods, but for integrating historic Bronx institutions with new business and residential development.”

The Vision Plan comes just two years after the City Council voted to rezone 80 blocks of Webster Avenue, between Woodlawn and Fordham Road. The changes okayed an extra 430,000-square-fett of business space and 950 more residential units to an area flanked with empty lots, mechanic shops and residential buildings.

The area, mostly within the Beford Park/Fordham area was also known for its late-night drag races, car wrecks and fatal shootings.

These days, with crime in the downswing, businesses have been bullish on the Bronx, buying up property along the strip while prices are still low.

Recently, the Stagg Group purchased $2.25 million worth of property in the Bedford Park/Fordham Area.

Other major projects are underway, helping to ease congestion to the already crowded nexus of travel.

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383

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