Variances granted for three-building HPD project

Proposed ten-story building at 1176 East Tremont Avenue in the Bronx will be part of the Phipps Houses Group’s three-building project. Image: Courtesy Curtis + Ginsberg Architects LLP.

HPD claimed that abandoned railway complicated the development of two lots. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development applied for use variances in order to construct a three-building affordable housing development on two vacant through-block lots zoned for manufacturing in the East Tremont section of the Bronx.

The Phipps Houses Group’s 141-unit project will include an eight-story residential building and a ten-story mixed-use building at 1155 East Tremont Avenue, and a ten-story mixed-use building located directly across the street at 1176 East Tremont Avenue. Both lots were previously occupied by the elevated New York, Westchester, and Boston Interurban Railway. Remnants of the abandoned train trestle, including several in-ground concrete supports, remain on both lots.

HPD claimed that the trestle remnants, subsurface contamination, and the area’s high water table would constrain a viable manufacturing use for the site. HPD estimated that it would cost a combined $6.1 million to clean up the sites and remove the railway remnants. HPD also claimed that the requested variances were necessary in order to provide the minimum number of apartments needed to maintain the project’s financial viability and fulfill the agency’s programmatic goals.

Bronx Community Board 6, local Council Member Joel Rivera, and State Assembly Member Michael Benjamin supported the project. Some residents, however, expressed concern about the project’s impact on traffic and parking. In response, HPD claimed that its environmental review indicated that further traffic analysis was unnecessary and noted that the project would provide eleven on-site parking spaces.

BSA granted the variance, finding that the physical conditions created a hardship in developing a conforming use on the sites, and the requested waivers were the minimum necessary to allow the project to remain economically viable.

BSA: 1155 East Tremont Avenue, Bronx (267-09-BZ); 1176 East Tremont Avenue, Bronx (268-09-BZ) (Oct. 26, 2010). CityAdmin

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