City Council Green Lights Two 14-Story Affordable Building in Longwood

Rendering of proposed buildings at 1125 Whitlock Avenue as designed by Langan Engineering. Image credit: DCP

The City Council approved the construction of 474 low-income affordable units in Longwood, Bronx. On July 20, 2017, the New York City Council voted 46-0 to approve the construction of two new 14-story mixed-use buildings at the intersection of Whitlock Avenue and east 165th Street in the Bronx’s Longwood neighborhood. The applicant, Ader Group, LLC, requested a zoning map amendment to change the project area from an M1-1 zoning district to an R8A/C2-4 zoning district, and a zoning text amendment to designate the project as a Mandatory Inclusionary Housing area. The development site is a 61,586-square-foot lot bounded on the east by Whitlock Avenue, on the south by Aldus Street, fronting Longfellow Avenue and on the north by East 165th Street. The site is currently occupied by auto repair shops, storage facilities, and a light industrial plastics facility. The previous zoning, M1-1, allowed for a maximum floor area ratio or 1.0 for both commercial and manufacturing uses, and 2,4 for community uses. Residential uses were not permitted in the zoning district.

The development will result in two 14-story mixed-use buildings, totaling 426,107 square feet of floor area, and containing 474 affordable dwelling units. The site will also contain 69 underground accessory parking spaces. The approved rezoning to an R8A district will permit a maximum residential floor area ratio of 7.2 for inclusionary housing and a maximum community facility use of 6.5. The C2-4 overlay will also allow a maximum floor area ratio of 2.0 for commercial and retail uses.

The Ader Group, LLC, is seeking financing from the Department of Housing and Development Corporation through their Extremely Low and Low-Income Affordability and Mix and Max programs. If approved, the applicant would be able to provide housing from 27 percent to 80 percent of the area median income. Some of the units would be reserved for formerly homeless families.

On March 29, 2017, Bronx Community Board 2 voted 24-4 to approve the application with conditions. The Community Board requested that the applicant reduce the number of units set aside for formerly homeless families by half and that a lottery process be held for the 50 percent community preference. The Board also asked that the applicant employ qualified property managers with proper security surveillance systems. Finally, they requested that the applicant help relocate the current businesses and negotiate a Community Benefit Agreement for local schools.

On May 8, 2017, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. issued a recommendation to approve the application.

On May 24, 2017, the City Planning Commission found the project to be appropriate. The Commission noted in its report that the new housing would help address the need for more affordable housing in the Bronx. The Commission acknowledged concerns expressed by the Community Board. While the conditions requested could not be imposed by the Commission, they were happy to hear that the applicant had indicated a willingness to work with the community to address the requests.

CC: Whitlock and 165th Street Rezoning, Bronx (LU 0682-2017; LU 0683-2017) (July 20, 2017).

By: Jonathon Sizemore (Jonathon is a CityLaw Fellow and a New York Law School Graduate, Class of 2016).

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