Bronx affordable housing project moves forward

Two-building project would create 217 units of affordable housing. On February 16, 2011, the City Planning Commission approved a proposal by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to allow Phipps Houses to develop a 217-unit mixed-use affordable housing project in the Melrose section of the Bronx. The site comprises ten lots on a block generally bounded by East 163rd Street to the north, East 162nd Street to the south, Melrose Avenue to the east, and Courtlandt Avenue to the west.

The project, known as Courtlandt Crescent, would include a seven-story building along East 163rd Street and Courtlandt Avenue that would follow the curve of those streets, and a ten-story L-shaped building with frontages along Melrose Avenue and East 162nd Street that would step down to seven stories along East 162nd Street.

Image: courtesy of NYC Department of City Planning.

HPD proposed replacing the block’s existing R7-2 zoning with an R7A district on the site’s western portion and an R8 district with a C1-4 commercial overlay on its eastern portion. HPD also proposed relaxing the Melrose Commons Urban Renewal Plan’s setback and building height rules to allow the development to take advantage of the additional floor area permitted under the respective zoning districts. The City adopted the renewal plan in 1994 to govern the development of approximately 34 blocks in Melrose. A 2007 amendment to the plan facilitated the development of the 679-unit Boricua Village. 4 CityLand 72 (June 15, 2007).


Courtlandt Crescent would provide housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income families earning 60 percent or less of the area median income, with twenty percent of the units set aside for families earning 40 percent or less of the area median income. The project would include a 10,000 sq.ft. early childhood center designed in conjunction with the City’s Administration for Children’s Services. A proposed courtyard located behind the two buildings would serve as open space for the buildings’ residents and the childhood center. The sustainably designed project would also include a 29-space underground parking garage with space for 110 bicycles.

Bronx Community Board 3 and Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. supported the project, and no one opposed at the Commission’s January 26 hearing. The Commission approved the project, noting that it would strengthen the residential character of the area and provide the neighborhood with much needed community facility space.

CPC: Courtlandt Crescent/Melrose Commons (C 110116 HAX – UDAAP); (C 110115 ZMX – rezoning); (C 110114 HUX – amend. urban renewal plan) (Feb. 16, 2011) (Architect: Dattner Architects).


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