Development Will Add Eight Affordable Units in Melrose

Rendering of 599 Courtlandt Avenue. Image Credit: Procida/CPC

New development on current vacant lot will include eight affordable units and ground floor commercial space. On September 5, 2018, the City Planning Commission held a public hearing on an application by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) for the acquisition of property at 599 Courtlandt Street in the Melrose section of the Bronx. The property is located between East 150th and East 151st Streets. The applicants plan to build a mixed-use residential and commercial building.

In 2005, the City conveyed the property at 599 Courtlandt Street to Procida Development LLC through the New Foundations Program. The property consisted of a dilapidated building. Procida initially planned to replace the old building with a two-to-four unit building with commercial space on the ground floor. The old building was torn down. The conditions of an adjacent structurally unstable church and the 2008 market crash delayed the initial project indefinitely. Currently, the property is a 29 by 100-foot vacant lot.

The current proposal is greater in size than the initial project which therefore means the City’s acquisition of the property triggers a public review process. The building will be a four-story walk-up with eight residential units. The residential space will be 6,179 square feet. The building will have 753 square feet of commercial use. The amount of square footage for commercial use may be reduced to account for ADA access to the trash room inside the building. The ground floor will have commercial space in the front and a studio apartment in the rear with a small private terrace. The other units will have access to a small yard behind the building. The building includes laundry in the cellar and storage space for tenants.

The development team consists of Procida and Urban Architectural Initiatives. There is no named general contractor for the project at this time. Wavecrest Management Team Ltd. will manage the building.

The building will have five studio apartments, two one-bedroom apartments, and one three-bedroom apartment. Three studio apartments will be at 100% AMI, at a proposed rental rate of $1,497.00. The other two studio apartments will be at 80% AMI, at a proposed rental rate of $1,184.00. One one-bedroom apartment will be at 80% AMI, at a proposed rental rate of $1,494.00. The second one-bedroom apartment will be at 60% AMI, at a proposed rental rate of $1,043.00. The three-bedroom apartment will be at 100% AMI, at a proposed rental rate of $2,617.00. Peter Procida admitted that the AMI was above the average income for the neighborhood given the small unit size, but that the studio and one-bedroom units would attract young professionals who lived in the neighborhood but may work downtown.

Procida consulted with the Bronx Borough President’s office to get recommendations for the site. The Borough President’s office shared two recommendations: using a non-chain link fence around the property and providing access to the small trash room inside the building. In response, Procida said a wooden fence would most likely be used and were looking into ADA access for the trash room, but neither had been finalized.

Commissioner Levin asked how HPD maximized affordability. A spokesperson from HPD stated that it was not possible to make the units more affordable than what was in the current plan, as HPD maximized the subsidies committed to the project. Deep affordability was not an option given the small number of units. The small size of the project further limited tax credits and project-based vouchers available. HPD stated that these AMI levels were the most appropriate given the size of the project. The project is being funded by HPD and Article 11 tax credits.

There were no public comments on the proposed plan.

CPC: 599 Courtlandt Avenue (C 180391 PQX, C 180390 HAX) (September 5, 2018)


By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw Fellow and a New York Law School Graduate, Class of 2018.)



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