Proposed Building to Bring 52 Affordable Units to Belmont Area of the Bronx

Rendering of 4697 Third Avenue. Image Credit: Bronx Pro Group

The building will be entirely affordable and environmentally efficient. On October 31, 2018, the City Planning Commission held a public hearing on an application to construct a mixed-use, mixed income building at 4697 Third Avenue in the Belmont section of the Bronx. The Department of Housing Preservation (HPD) brought the application to designate 4697 Third Avenue as an Urban Development Action Area, requiring the ULURP process. The applicant team consists of the developer Bronx Pro Group and Curtis + Ginsberg Architects. 4697 Third Avenue is currently a vacant lot between East 188th Street and Cyrus Place.

The eight-story building will have approximately 52 residential units and one super’s unit. The building will have eight studio apartments, 19 one-bedroom apartments, 18 two-bedroom apartments, and seven three-bedroom apartments. The building will also have retail space on the ground floor on Third Avenue.

The building will have a residential lobby on the ground floor. The building will also have a laundry room, a bicycle storage room, and an on-site gym. The building will also have a terrace on the second floor with a garden and a playground. A portion of the garden will be reserved for residents to plant fruit and vegetables.

All 52 apartments will be affordable. Sixty percent of the units will be between 60 to 80 percent AMI. Ten percent of the units will be at 50 percent AMI. Ten percent of the units will be at 40 percent AMI. Ten percent of the units will be at 30 percent AMI, and the remaining ten percent of units will be at 30 percent or less AMI.

The proposed building will meet Passive House environmental requirements. Passive House building standards are the strictest environmental building standards in the nation and require energy efficient construction and design methods. In meeting Passive House standards, the building will implement rainwater harvesting, solar panels, and other energy efficient building materials, design, and appliances.

The project will be funded by the HPD Extremely Low- and Income-Affordable Program (ELLA). The ELLA Program funds low-income multi-family rental construction projects and requires a range of affordability between 30 and 60 percent AMI.

On September 12, 2018, Bronx Community Board 6 voted to recommend approval of the application with 22 votes in favor, one vote in opposition, and three abstentions.

On October 18, 2018, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. recommended approval of the application. The Borough President stated in his recommendation that “as vacant properties across the Bronx are scarce it is vital that these few remaining sites be developed in a manner that will encourage residents to remain in the community. This can only be realized if the proposed project includes state-of-the-art amenities designed to not only reduce energy consumption, but the costs associated with such consumption. 4697 3rd Avenue will be such a building.”

At the City Planning Commission hearing, Commissioner Michelle de la Uz said, “It looks like a great project. . . it’s great to see such a broad range of incomes from 15 percent AMI to 80 percent of AMI.” Commissioner de la Uz asked if the development team heard feedback from the community about a desire for an even deeper range of affordability. The development responded by stating that the team had presented the project to Community Board 6, but did not receive comments requesting deeper affordability.

Commissioner Anna Hayes Levin remarked on the Passive House features of the proposed building by saying, “It’s wonderful to see that format being used in such an affordable building.” Commissioner Levin asked how these features are going to be financed, to which the applicant team stated that the increased costs of construction for a Passive House building are offset by the lower cost of utilities to operate the building, putting lenders more at ease in financing the project.

Project architect Mark Ginsberg pointed out that New York is likely to adopt a stretch code within the next year which will require many Passive House features for new construction. Chair Marisa Lago said that it was “nice to see affordable housing leading the way” for environmentally efficient construction.

The City Planning Commission will vote on the application at a later date.


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



One thought on “Proposed Building to Bring 52 Affordable Units to Belmont Area of the Bronx

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.