Bronx retail center approved

Rendering of the Bronx Terminal Market Gateway Center. Used with permission of The Marino Organization.

Mall-type retail center to be developed on site of Bronx Terminal Market. The NYC Economic Development Corporation and BTM Development Partners obtained Council’s approval for six actions related to development of a one-million square-foot, multi-level retail center at the site of the Bronx Terminal Market in West Concourse, Bronx. Two approved map amendments eliminated streets between River and Cromwell Avenues and rezoned the project site from M2-1 to C4-4 to permit large scale retail development. The Council also approved three special permits to allow a six-building retail center and 250-room hotel, a connected 6-level public parking garage with 2,610 spaces, and signage exceeding the allowable square footage. The sixth action approved disposition of the 19-acre project site from the City to the EDC for subsequent disposition to the real estate management firm Related Companies, Inc.

At the Council’s January 23, 2006 Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises hearing, a representative for Assemblywoman Aurelia Greene, along with local residents and merchants supported the project and emphasized the need to revitalize the neighborhood and create jobs. Friends of Brook Park also spoke in favor of development, but urged the Council to support the creation of a park with waterfront access next to the site. Opponents criticized the EDC’s failure to disclose names of potential tenants, expressed concern over the lack of commitment to minority and union jobs, and argued that retailers such as Wal-Mart and BJ’s would be detrimental to the community. Opponents also urged the Council not to approve an aesthetically out-of-context, suburban-type mall that would fail to serve the lower income community and create excess traffic.

Large-scale retail development to replace Bronx Terminal Market. Photo: Kevin E. Schultz.

The Bronx Terminal Market’s current tenants testified in favor of development, but wanted to be included in the redevelopment or relocated as a group to preserve the practical benefits of a central market. In negotiations, the tenants suggested a new market on the site previously proposed for the 2012 Olympic Velodrome in the South Bronx, but accepted a buyout from the EDC based on square footage with no relocation plan, allowing them to remain in business until June 1, 2006.

The Council approved on February 1, 2006 by a vote of 49-1-1, with Council Member Charles Barron voting in disapproval and Council Member Hiram Monserrate absent from the vote. At the Council meeting Bronx Council Member Joel Rivera commented that regardless of which retailers serve as tenants, new development would be “one thousand times better than what currently exists.”

ULURP Process: As lead agency, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding issued a final EIS on December 8, 2005 which identified mitigating measures for historic preservation, traffic, and pedestrian use. The six applications were approved by Community Board 4 on September 14, 2005 by a vote of 21 to 2 with one abstention. Borough President Adolfo Carrión Jr. approved on October 19, 2005. Following a public hearing with 9 speakers in favor and 12 opposed, the Planning Commission unanimously approved on December 19, 2005.

Council: Bronx Terminal Market Gateway Center (February 1, 2006); CPC: Bronx Terminal Market Gateway Center (C 050074 MMX – map amendment); (C 050529 ZMX – map amendment); (C 050530 ZSX – special permit, parking garage); (C 050531 ZSX – special permit, retail center); (C 050532 ZSX – special permit, signage); (C 050539 PPX – disposition of property) (December 19, 2005). CITYADMIN

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