Webster Avenue Vision Plan
This week, NYCEDC announced a vision plan for Webster Avenue, a major thoroughfare extending from the neighborhoods of Melrose to Woodlawn in the Bronx. The vision plan focuses on the approximately 1.5-mile long section between Fordham Road and Gun Hill Road, where a convergence of City initiatives and private investment is poised to transform Webster Avenue into a vibrant mixed-use district that serves the needs of culturally diverse neighborhoods and world class institutions.
At the request of Four Bronx Institutions Alliance (FBIA) - Fordham University, Montefiore Medical Center, The New York Botanical Garden, and the WCS’s Bronx Zoo - and in collaboration with community stakeholders, NYC Mayor’s Office and the City of New York, NYCEDC facilitated a targeted planning process to revitalize Webster Avenue as a neighborhood “main street” capitalizing on its proximity to the anchor institutions and a 2011 rezoning by the New York City Department of City Planning that projects 430,000 square feet of new commercial development and more than 950 additional residential units. The plan seeks to make Webster Avenue a place to live, work, shop and enjoy unique cultural experiences - as well as a hub for entrepreneurs, researchers and students to foster new businesses and academic collaborations.
“The vision plan for Webster Avenue provides a roadmap, not only for connecting great Bronx neighborhoods, but for integrating historic Bronx institutions with new business and residential development that hold promise for the borough’s future. This vision plan will help to revitalize these neighborhoods for residents and visitors alike, showing how to bring 21st Century businesses, new housing, retail, and amenities to a district anchored by world-class destinations.” - NYCEDC President Seth Pinsky
The Webster Avenue corridor links together four distinct neighborhood centers - Gun Hill Road, E. 204th Street, Bedford Park Boulevard, and Fordham Road - where active commercial streets meet Webster Avenue. Characterized by local and destination retail, transit options, notable landmarks and active business and community networks, each neighborhood center serves as a pedestrian-friendly hub for its surrounding community. With rich histories, these neighborhood centers are essential building blocks in the continued transformation of Webster Avenue.
Community input throughout the visioning process emphasized supporting business development, a greater diversity and quality of retail, and more mixed-income housing options along Webster Avenue. Although there are no City-owned development parcels, NYCEDC seeks to further strengthen connections between the neighborhood centers and existing assets - and to attract new commercial and residential development that meets the needs of local residents, employees, entrepreneurs, students and visitors. To realize this vision, the City will partner with FBIA and local stakeholders to implement the following recommendations:
Support Business Development and Local Entrepreneurship
- Establish a business incubator and low-interest loan fund to help local residents successfully launch businesses that serve institutional and retail needs and create jobs.
- Develop a local purchasing pilot program that facilitates existing business development to serve retail and institutional needs.
Create Destinations & Enhance Neighborhood Centers
- Engage in catalytic, mixed-use development opportunities, especially around the neighborhood centers.
- Strengthen the capacity of locally-based organization(s) to implement a retail recruitment strategy and spearhead future revitalization efforts.
- Continue to market FRESH financial and zoning incentives to support new and improved supermarkets that expand local food access.
- Promote mixed-income housing in the Webster Avenue corridor by marketing the area to property owners, real estate brokers, and developers.
Improve Pedestrian Connection & Mobility
- Implement streetscape improvements, after further community review, as part of the Webster Avenue Select Bus Service project.
One of the key goals of the Vision Plan is to harness the economic potential of the area by linking residents, businesses and FBIA. In response, NYCEDC is also launching the LIFT Entrepreneurship Program, which will help to create new businesses and expand local businesses in the area. The program, part of the “LINK” suite of initiatives announced by Mayor Bloomberg, will offer entrepreneurs affordable incubator work space, business support programming, access to loans, and partnerships with local anchor institutions in order to stimulate economic activity in the area and grow economic opportunities within the community.
Find out much more about the Webster Avenue Vision Plan at www.nycedc.com/webstervision.