Melrose project approved

Via Verde development approved. Image: Phipps Houses, Jonathan Rose Companies, Dattner Architects, and Grimshaw Architects.

New development would provide affordable housing while incorporating green design features. On October 7, 2008, the City Planning Commission unanimously approved the Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development’s plan to build a mixed-use, mixed-income development in the Melrose section of the Bronx. The proposed project, known as Via Verde/The Green Way, is a product of the New Housing New York Legacy Project competition, sponsored by HPD and the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The competition sought to inspire new forms of sustainable design for a mixed-use, mixed-income project on the irregularly shaped, City-owned parcel at East 156th St. and Brook Avenue. The winning plan, developed by Jonathan Rose Companies, Phipps Houses Group, Grimshaw Architects, and Dattner Architects, proposed a development that would range in height from three- to 20-stories and provide approximately 220 units of affordable housing, 8,532sq.ft. of retail and community space, and 27,700sq.ft. of open space.

The proposal includes three- to four-story townhouses, a six- to 14- story mid-rise building, and a 15- to 20-story tower that would wrap around two interior courtyards and an amphitheater. In addition, a series of gardens beginning in the courtyard would spiral up the structure through a series of green roofs. The Commission noted that the proposed design was sympathetic to the broad range of surrounding uses. The low-scale section of the proposed building would avoid shading the ballfields to the south, and the taller part of the building would be of similar height to an existing 18-story residential building to the east.

The Commission, in its report, noted that the proposed project would address the need to provide affordable housing for low- to middle- income families and would facilitate the development of vacant and underutilized City-owned land that has had a “blighting influence” in the neighborhood. The Commission also praised the superior overall design of the project, including the use of sustainable building materials, photovoltaic panels, and the roof gardens.

Review Process
Lead Agency:HPD,Neg.Dec.
Comm.Bd.: BX 1,App’d, 20-0-0
Boro.Pres.: App’d
CPC: App’d, 12-0-0
Council: Pending

CPC: Via Verde (C 080522 HAX – UDAAP); (C 080517 ZMX – rezoning); (N 080518 ZRY – text amend.); (C 080519 ZSX – spec. perm., dev. over rail right-of-way); (C 080520 ZSX spec. perm. – height and setback); (C 080521 PQX – acq. of prop.); (N 080523 HCX – amend. URP) (Oct. 7, 2008). CITYADMIN


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