The Lower Concourse Infrastructure Investment Strategy is the first step toward spending $200 million in infrastructure money to create jobs, increase access to open space, and build affordable housing in the Lower Concourse neighborhood.
As noted in Mayor de Blasio’s State of the City address in February 2015, the Lower Concourse neighborhood offers an opportunity to strengthen the South Bronx and provides opportunities for new affordable housing, the creation of jobs, and new open space along the Harlem River. While the Lower Concourse has historically been an industrial area with an active waterfront, the area does not currently permit safe access to the waterfront or have the infrastructure necessary to support growth. However, the neighborhood now serves as an important gateway to the Bronx, defined by important assets including transit access to the rest of the Bronx and Manhattan and key institutions, such as Lincoln Hospital and Hostos Community College, along East 149th Street.
Following the mayor’s announcement, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) worked with other City agencies and the public to develop a comprehensive capital investment strategy to build on the neighborhood’s assets and to strengthen the infrastructure that will create jobs and provide affordable housing. NYCEDC has been working with many City agency partners to implement this plan that will create jobs, build affordable housing, and promote connections within the neighborhood to its waterfront and new open spaces. Key projects within the neighborhood include:
- Rezoning of a key City-owned site to allow for new waterfront open space and affordable housing
- A new 2.3-acre park along the Harlem River
- 11 blocks of full street and intersection reconstruction
Lower Concourse North
The Lower Concourse North Site is one of the largest remaining City-owned parcels of land in the Bronx. Sitting at a gateway location in the Lower Concourse neighborhood, the site is a stone’s throw away from the transit-rich 149th Street corridor where Hostos College, the Bronx General Post Office, and Lincoln Hospital are located. The site is adjacent to Mill Pond Park and the 145th Street Bridge that connects to Upper Manhattan.
ULURP and EIS
In 2017, the City rezoned the Lower Concourse North site from manufacturing to mixed-use commercial and residential to allow for the creation of affordable housing, new open space, and commercial and community facilities.
Here are community presentations given during ULURP to the Community Board and to the Bronx Borough President. The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) analyzed a generic Reasonable Worst-Case Development Scenario (RWCDS) that considered the worst-case development potential for environmental effects in each technical area that is studied pursuant to City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR). The generic environmental impact statement (GEIS) can be accessed by clicking here.
In July 2016, NYCEDC, in partnership with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), released a request for expressions of interest (RFEI) for the redevelopment of the Lower Concourse North site, which was vacant. The RFEI represented a unique opportunity to create an iconic gateway for the southwest Bronx, connecting residents to the Harlem River waterfront, and supporting the growth of the Lower Concourse neighborhood.
Lower Concourse North, conveniently located less than four blocks from the transit hub at 149th Street and Grand Concourse with the 2, 4, and 5 trains, is adjacent to the 145th Street Bridge between Manhattan and the Bronx. The site is also located across from the Bronx Terminal Market shopping mall, just south of Yankee Stadium, a stone’s throw from beautiful parks and green space including Mill Pond Park and overlooking the picturesque Harlem River.
The City sought RFEI responses that included a mixed-income affordable housing project that would include a commercial/community facility program and publicly accessible open space, which will encourage pedestrian activity and neighborhood connectivity.
In September 2017, NYCEDC, in partnership with HPD and Parks and Recreation (DPR), announced a plan to transform a long-vacant site located along the Harlem River waterfront into Bronx Point, a dynamic mixed-use development that will feature high-quality public open spaces, hundreds of permanently affordable housing units, a home for the Universal Hip Hop Museum, a state-of-the-art multiplex theater, education space, and a neighborhood food and beverage hall and incubator.
Bronx Point will be delivered in two phases. Phase one of the project will include:
- Approximately 540 units of 100% permanently affordable housing
- 2.8 acres of open space including a new waterfront esplanade along the Harlem River, an outdoor performance space, with public seating and expansive views of the Harlem River, and a dynamic public plaza along Exterior Street
- State-of-the-art multiplex theater as well as other local retail
- Over 55,000 square feet of education and community facility space, including the Universal Hip Hop Museum
Phase two will include approximately 270 units of affordable housing and 30,000 square feet of community facility space, including a commissary kitchen, artists’ studios, rehearsal space, and space for BronxWorks, a local community service provider.
The winning proposal was submitted by a joint venture partnership between L+M Development Partners and Type A Projects, a woman-owned emerging developer that is known for their dedication to building affordable educational spaces and state-of-the-art public schools in New York City.
NYCEDC is leading the effort to upgrade the infrastructure along Exterior Street between East 149th Street and East 138th Street. This work will support existing residents and businesses, providing infrastructure capacity to meet community needs, while also helping future development in the neighborhood. In addition, street and sidewalk reconstruction will improve pedestrian safety and vehicle operation. The project includes:
- Full depth reconstruction of Exterior Street between East 149th Street and East 138th Street
- New water and sewer mains along Exterior Street
- Reconstruction of key intersections, such as East 144th Street & Exterior Street, East 146th Street & Exterior Street, East 149th Street & Exterior Street, and East 150th Street & Exterior Street
Groundbreaking is anticipated in the first quarter of 2020 with construction to be complete in 2022.
Harlem River Park
As part of comprehensive neighborhood rezoning completed in 2009, the City mapped a 2.3-acre park along the Harlem River at the intersection of East 144th Street and Exterior Street. The City obtained title for all three properties in November 2018. NYCEDC is managing the design and construction of the park in coordination with DPR. The new park is expected to include a waterfront walkway along the river, visual corridors connecting Exterior Street and the waterfront, and a programmable area. The park is also anticipated to include a comfort station with restroom facilities as well as space for maintenance workers. Construction is anticipated to begin in Summer 2022 and be complete in 2024.
Previous Planning Efforts
NYCEDC’s work in the Lower Concourse area builds off of the “South Bronx Initiative” (SBI), a strategic planning initiative completed in 2008 that aimed to promote the creation of new affordable housing, retail, and office space throughout the South Bronx.
NYCEDC was part of the team that worked on this initiative, together with the Departments of City Planning, HPD, DPR, Small Business Services, and Transportation.
After a two-year planning and community outreach process led by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, the SBI Plan was released in summer 2008. The plan defined a vision and a strategy to guide future land use changes and capital investments in the South Bronx. You can find the plan here.
Community outreach is an important part of NYCEDC's work in Lower Concourse! We want to hear from as many people as possible during our work. If you would like more information about upcoming events, please email [email protected].
NYCEDC held a community listening session on September 29, 2016, at Hostos Community College. We gave a short presentation and then heard from community members about their priorities. View the full presentation.