View Full Version : Melrose Development

October 18th, 2009, 04:08 PM
With all the construction going on in Melrose, the neighborhood deserves its own thread.

The neighborhood is being reborn (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/06/realestate/06living.html) with infill development at the high-density level that once existed. In my view, it is the ultimate urban redevelopment success story. Here is a partial list of the buildings recently completed or under construction in Melrose:

Melrose Villa Hermosa - 823 Melrose Av. (159th/160th) ~60 apts. - c. 2003
Palacio del Sol - 760 Melrose Av. (156th/157th) - 110 apts. + retail - 2006
Peter Cintron Apts. - 415. E. 157th St. / 404 E. 158th St. (at Melrose) - 165 apts. + retail - 2006
Courtlandt Av. Apts. - 303 E. 158th St. / 320 E. 159th St. (Courtlandt/Park) - 125 apts - 2006
Parkview Commons I - 871 Elton Av. (160th/161st) - 98 apts. + retail - 2006
Parkview Commons II - 406 E. 161st St. (Elton/Melrose) - 78 apts. + retail - 2007
La Puerta de Vitalidad - 3103 Third Av. (158th/159th) - ~60 apts. + retail - c. 2007
The Aurora (http://auroranyc.com/) - 837 Washington (159th/160th) - 90 apts. condo - c. 2008
The Orion (http://www.procidarealty.com/properties/brochures/orion.pdf) - 3044 Third Av. (156th/157th) + 61 apts. condo + retail - 2008
The Dorado - 3055 Third Av. (156th/157th) - 48 apts. + retail - 2009
The Eltona - 429 E. 156th St. (Elton/Melrose) - 63 apts. - 2009
Courtlandt Corners - 890 Courtlandt Av. / 370 E. 162nd St. / 875 Melrose Av. - 252 apts. + retail - 2010
El Jardin de Seline - Melrose Av. & 158th St - 85 apts + retail? - 2010
Boricua Village / Northrose (http://www.thenorthrose.com/index.html) - more than 500 apts. + community college campus + retail - 2010
La Terraza - 3100 Third Av. (158th) - 107 apts. - 2011
St. Ann's Terrace - St. Ann's Av. from 156th to 159th Sts. - 600 apts. - 2011

What buildings am I forgetting?

If anyone has photos of these buildings, under construction or completed, please post!

I'll get things started with a photo of what is probably my favorite building so far, El Jardin de Seline. Here's how it appeared today, Sunday, October 18, 2009.


October 18th, 2009, 04:18 PM
Good idea Interloafer. I do request one thing though: tell (or better yet if you can) show us what was there before.

Nothing feels better than to see good development replacing what was before a blighted vacant or parking lots.

Also, I love to see how most of those projects are mixed-use. Retail on the ground floors are a good thing.

October 18th, 2009, 07:26 PM
Based on Google maps and Bing's bird's eye views, El Jardin de Seline was built on an empty lot created by a long-stalled low density development project that got as far as the foundation before being halted.

Most of the buildings in the list above were built on vacant lots or surface parking or a combination thereof. That is what makes this redevelopment plan all the more worthy of praise and emulation. Empty lots were targeted for redevelopment, and efforts have been made to retain existing urban fabric where ever possible.

October 18th, 2009, 07:51 PM
... my favorite building so far, El Jardin de Seline.

It's amazing what a little attention to detail (the red brick striping, the deco-inspired crown up top) can do to make what would otherwise be a mundane box into something much better.

Thanks for posting.

October 19th, 2009, 12:34 AM
Nearly every building that might be posted in this thread was on empty lots. Relatively few were built over existing structures as far as I know.

I am 99% sure that there was a decent amount of aerial photography of the neighborhood going several years back (predating the current Google maps images, which are a few years old themselves) that was taken from a plane or helicopter, as I had found a couple of photos many years back, but I never saw the rest of the set, assuming there is a "set".

December 5th, 2009, 10:18 PM
HDC Approves $43 Million for Via Verde Apts (http://www.nychdc.com/pressroom/pr_12-03-20092.html)

NEW YORK, NY, December 3rd, 2009– The New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) Board of Directors voted today to approve $43 million in taxable Multi-Family Mortgage Revenue Bonds and Cooperative Housing Mortgage Revenue Bonds for the new construction of Via Verde Apartments and Via Verde Cooperative Apartments, located in the Bronx.

The developments will be built on a vacant urban renewal site at 700 Brook Avenue, on the Southeast corner of East 156th Street and when completed will contain 151 rental units and 71 cooperative apartments. The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) currently controls a portion of the site, with remainder expected to be purchased by the mortgagors, Via Verde Rental Management Corporation and Rose Via Verde Homes Manager. Via Verde will be a LEED-Gold development with three distinct building types: one 20-story tower at the north end of the site, six 12-story mid-rise buildings in the middle and three to four-story townhouses to the south. The rental units will make up the tower and the northern portion of the midrise buildings, and the co-op units are located in the lower portion of the midrise and the townhouses. Retail and community facility spaces are located in the center portion midrise buildings.

The Via Verde Apartments will include three condominium units: residential, commercial and community. This building will have 151 units, 12 will be studios, 48 one-bedroom units, 74 two-bedroom units and 17 three-bedroom units. All of the units will be rented to households earning no more than 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI), which is $46,080 for a family of four.

The Via Verde Cooperative Apartments, the 4th unit in the condominium, is expected to have 71 co-op units: seven one-bedrooms, 55 two-bedroom units and nine three-bedroom units. The cooperative portion will be affordable to households warning between 70% AMI ($53,760 for a family of four) and 100% AMI ($76,800 for a family of four). HDC will provide $6.5M for the first permanent mortgage loan to the cooperative cooperation.

About the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC):
The New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) provides a variety of financing programs for the creation and preservation of multi-family affordable housing throughout the five boroughs of New York City. Our programs are designed to meet the wide-range of affordable housing needs of the City's economically diverse population. In partnership with the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development, HDC works to implement out Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace plan to create of preserve 165,000 affordable housing units by 2014. Since the plan launched in 2004, HDC financed more than 43,000 homes for low- , moderate- and middle-income New Yorkers. The New York City Housing Development Corporation is rated AA by S&P and Aa2 by Moody’s.

January 8th, 2010, 03:08 PM


April 3rd, 2010, 08:06 PM
Cortlandt Corners is coming along nicely. Here are two shots of the north building on 161st Street.



April 6th, 2010, 01:48 AM
Great progress on Melrose Commons! What a huge turnaround!

April 21st, 2010, 07:30 PM
I'll be the first to admit that I really like the sight of two huge crains on the South Bronx skyline. Here are two shots of St. Ann's Terrace under construction as of April 10, from 159th Street and St. Ann's Avenue. Check out the slope of 159th Street!



December 27th, 2010, 05:56 PM
Via Verde


December 27th, 2010, 08:48 PM
Nice to see Via Verde up, this is how affordable housing should be done!

January 3rd, 2011, 07:29 AM
I can't believe how beautiful this is. It's just perfect. 1941 Moderne. IMHO, in it's own simple way, this exterior is on par with 15CPW and the better replicas downtown. Very, very good:


January 4th, 2011, 04:35 AM
^ I agree. You can't keep a great style down. Elegance in simplicity or exuberance in embellishment - works either way :).

January 14th, 2011, 10:49 AM
Jardin de Selene is awesome indeed. The entry mosaic is ridiculously beautiful too, and the apartments aren't bad either.

March 12th, 2011, 08:01 AM
Hi all-I am hoping someone knows the answer to this question! When was the aurora at 837 Washington completed? Was it after September 2008? Thanks!

March 12th, 2011, 10:36 PM
^ December 2008.


October 19th, 2011, 04:46 PM
Courtlandt Crescent, 10/16/11... below grade.


November 10th, 2011, 09:31 PM
There are now large, architecturally ambitious projects recently completed, underway, or planned on every block adjacent to the intersection of 162nd Street and Melrose Avenue (http://maps.google.com/maps?q=E.+162nd+Street+and+Melrose+Avenue,+Bronx,+ NY&hl=en&ll=40.824754,-73.913425&spn=0.00274,0.005681&sll=40.825022,-73.923488&sspn=0.01096,0.022724&vpsrc=6&hnear=Melrose+Ave+%26+E+162nd+St,+Bronx,+New+York+ 10451&t=h&z=18).

To the southwest, Courtlandt Corners is completed. It's photographed upthread and in the Bronx sticky thread.

To the northwest ("Site A"), Courtlandt Crescent is under construction, as Gulcrapek captured above. Dattner Architects has renderings and a description (http://www.dattner.com/) of its two-building complex (listed under "housing").

To the southeast ("Site C"), Magnussen Architecture & Planning has renderings and a description (http://www.maparchitects.com/melrose.php?sec=commonsnorth) of its forthcoming three-building complex.

The project will comprise of three connected buildings which will provide 260 units of housing, with ground floor commercial space, for a total of approximately 304,900 gross square feet. The three buildings will work together to create a landscaped courtyard with plenty of daylight entering through the generous cut in the height elevation of the south-facing part of the family building. This measure allows typical backyard housing units an unusual abundance of daylights and views to the neighboring public park above the former railroad trench on East 161st Street and Elton Avenue. The courtyard will include a series of terraced gardens and outdoor decks, forming a central and unifying feature of the new complex.

To the northeast ("Site B"), Rogers Marvel has renderings and a description (http://www.rogersmarvel.com/MelroseCommons.html) of its forthcoming four-building complex.

[T]he design proposes a composition of 3 distinct buildings and a school which take advantage of the overall site’s size for retail and parking while developing a distinct character to address each condition. The available bulk for the site is shifted to fill out the available zoning envelope on 163rd street and Elton (buildings 1 and 2) leaving a lower building to face 162nd street. This massing strategy has the additional benefit of reducing the height of building 3 on the south side of the building’s interior courtyard improving sun exposure both for the court and for Building 1. A school takes advantage of the site’s interior lot line facing onto a park planned for the balance of the block.

And from an overall planning perspective, it looks from the renderings like East 162nd Street will no longer be a cul-de-sac, which is great. The street grid will be restored as 162nd becomes a through-street connecting to Boricua College.

November 11th, 2011, 02:55 PM
WOW. That's huge. Also surprised that the large space further down Melrose also seems to be turning into a park. So all that remains now is the massive lot directly across 163rd from site B.

November 11th, 2011, 04:23 PM
Terrific news.

The South Bronx is (IMO), by far, the fastest improving urban neighborhood anywhere in the U.S. I'm amazed that many people still don't know all the wonderful things happening now in the South Bronx.

It's a terrific long-term investment. The improvements being made now will yield big returns.

November 12th, 2011, 10:34 AM
^ Agreed w/ASchwartz.

Here's the progress of Courtlandt Crescent as of yesterday, Nov. 11, 2011.


The building under construction behind it is on the west side of Courtlandt Avenue, adjacent to the northbound platform of the Melrose Metro-North station. (Toasty has posted (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5081&page=25&p=375632&viewfull=1#post375632) some aerial shots (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5081&page=23&p=368947&viewfull=1#post368947).) Here's a shot of the building from 161st Street. If this was a video you'd see the wind billowing through the netting.


This building replaces either a parking lot or a one-story warehouse (I forget which). Here's something worth watching: The building's neighbor to the south is some sort of garbage transfer station with smelly open dumpsters. The apartment building and the garbage transfer station will no doubt coexist uneasily. In wealthier neighborhoods residents usually find a way to shut down or force out unpleasant neighbors. I wonder if that will happen here.

November 12th, 2011, 07:33 PM
It was a single story warehouse. I wonder if the rest of the that block will have a similar fate. That garbage transfer station (which actually WAS a parking lot many moons ago) is something that I have been thinking is going to be an issue but I guess we'll see. However, just up Courtlandt is that huge lot full of cars which seems to be some kind of car delivery/storage thing. Before construction began it was a common sight to see that part of the street filled with truck trailers that had cars in them at all times of the day or night. I can't imagine that will resume when the buildings are completed.

February 28th, 2012, 06:08 AM
Is the South Bronx Hip? (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2914)

Well, this is, I think :).

Selling Via Verde

by Tom Stoelker | Architect's Paper

About 40 co-op units are still available at Via Verde. (Courtesy Phipps Rose Dattner Grimshaw)

Who wouldn’t want buy into an eco-conscious, sustainable, and affordable apartment building whose Grimshaw/Dattner-designed architecture received rave reviews on the front page of the New York Times? With more than 40 of the 75 co-ops still available at Via Verde, the gang at developer Jonathan Rose Co. and Dattner are giving the project the full media push. Jonathan Rose’s Ari Goldstein and Dattner’s Bill Stein were on New York 1 (http://www.ny1.com/content/ny1_living/real_estate/156678/new-south-bronx-housing-complex-is-not--green--to-environmentally-friendly-ideas) this morning promoting the design and high living standards. The 151 rental units of this muli-income complex were snapped up right away. But while the co-ops sales aren’t exactly flagging, they’re not exactly flying off the shelves in this economy.

The Via Verde interior. (Ruggero Vanni / Vanni Archives)

The pricing couldn’t possibly be the issue, as a two bedroom is going for $146,000. Of course there are income limitations, residents must make between $54,000 to $135,000—in other words, a young architect on a young architect’s salary. It may be the best chance in the city for a newbie planner to participate in a mixed-income, sustainable environment that was merely theoretical in grad school. But make no mistake—the South Bronx Renaissance is the real deal.

A sunny duplex.


March 2nd, 2012, 10:51 AM
Looks nice , I hate to ask this but is this a nice safe neighborhood to look around and explore in?

March 2nd, 2012, 04:04 PM
Looks nice , I hate to ask this but is this a nice safe neighborhood to look around and explore in?

Yeah, the neighborhood is fine. Lots of development up there, and the South Bronx really has had an amazing turnaround.

March 24th, 2012, 05:31 AM
Bronx development sets the bar for affordable housing complexes

Award-winning Via Verde combines green design with affordability

By Jason Sheftell / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Enid Alvarez/New York Daily News

If you don’t think real estate in the South Bronx can get the blood moving and excite the soul, spend some time at Via Verde, a mammoth income-regulated housing complex near the Hub at 704 Brook Ave. at 156th St.

It also gets the money flowing. Group after group and couple after couple who tour the $100 million project with over 40,000 square feet of usable green roof and garden space put 5% down on two-bedroom homes starting at $146,032. Of 71 coop units, only 26 remain. Some went in a lottery. Others are going as fast as you can say “open house.”

The award-winning Via Verde is known around the world as one of the finest projects of its kind, combining green design with affordability to spur urban renewal. But let’s forget urban renewal. It demeans the people who live around this great neighborhood and own businesses here. (Yes, the Hub, with its fashion retail, furniture stores and boxing gym is great). It also demeans the people who plan on moving in here. This project is about opportunity, home ownership and securing a future for your family in New York City. It’s urban survival, not renewal.

John Valverde works up the street. He directs a green career center for the non-profit Osborne Association. The focus is training out-of-work and low-skilled people for employment in the eco-friendly construction and energy efficiency trades. He’s placed hundreds of workers at local construction sites. Valverde, married to an architect from Costa Rica, will move into Via Verde this summer.

“Yes, this is a transformation for this neighborhood, but it’s more than that,” says Valverde, now living in Ozone Park, Queens. “It’s a commitment to sustainability and the difference architecture and vision can make in the lives of people who live here and near here. Via Verde is the future of how we all should live. I want to be able to live well in New York for a long time. We can do it here.”

Designed by London and New York-based Grimshaw in partnership with Dattner Architects, the project is a lesson in ingenuity. You can virtually climb to the building’s seventh floor in a semi-circle via a string of outdoor green roofs. You walk up an amphitheatre overlooking a children’s playground. Then you pass a small evergreen farm before passing an orchard of apple and peach trees. Turning the corner, organic food boxes to be shared by residents overlook a baseball field and Manhattan skyline on one side and the sheer size of Via Verde on the other.

Still climbing, another straightaway leads up a wired outdoor stairwell past solar panels that provide electricity to all common spaces in the building. A series of trestles and a green roof garden lead to the seventh floor fitness center, another amenity. The point here is that Via Verde is designed as an energy-efficient model and a way to inspire health in a housing community.

Developed by Jonathan Rose Companies and Phipps Housing, which won the right to build the site after winning a contest sponsored by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation, the New York chapter of the American Institure of Architects, and the State Energy Research and Development Authority, Via Verde also has a 20-story rental tower and 9,500 square feet of retail set aside for a Montefiore Medical Center.

“This is the next generation of green affordable housing,” says Paul Freitag, managing director of development for Jonathan Rose Companies. “We think urban architecture and development needs to focus on health and efficiency. Via Verde does mean ‘Green Way.’ This is the way we need to build, live and think. The design and sales success says this isn’t just a guess or a trend anymore. It’s a fact.”

Inside the building, eco-friendly homes have cross-ventilation, low VOC-paints, bamboo cabinets, hardwood floors, simple porcelain tile, solar shading for each window, energy-saving appliances and efficient mechanical systems. All units come with built-in work stations, dishwashers and washer/dryers. One line of duplex two-bedroom, 1˝ bath homes has balconies, open kitchens and smart lines on the stairwell. A few remain for $179,000. In the West Village, homes less practical, eco-advanced and architecturally stunning list for $1.5 million-plus.

The full variety of homes originally available at Via Verde includes work-live townhouses, mid-rise, and high-rise units. From the rental building’s 20th floor common roof space, you can survey the south, north and central Bronx, inspecting the variety of housing projects over the years that attempted to improve the urban condition. Some worked. Some failed. Via Verde hopes to define the new way of building and living.

“This lives up to its expectations of being a global model for affordable housing,” says Michael Wadman, vice president of Phipps Houses, the New York area’s largest and oldest non-profit devoted to the affordable housing sector. “The borough president, Ruben Diaz Jr., said it best: ‘Once the Bronx was burning, now we’re planting gardens in the sky.’ We’re excited to see this done, but just as excited to see the community in action when the place is filled.”

On a sunny but cold Saturday in March, Via Verde drew at least 100 house hunters. Some had already put down a deposit. They were returning to check the construction progress. Others were working with agents Eleanor Vernon and Stacey Bond to complete their applications and purchase packages, which include past tax documents, pay stubs and credit reports. With monthly maintenance and a mortgage, buyers of the two-bedrooms for $146,000 can expect to pay around $1,580 total. One-bedroom owners will pay less. Income qualifications cannot beess than $54,200 per household or more than $145,250.

Bronx-native Michael Reed runs sales at the development. A 20-year veteran of selling affordable housing, Reed has a big smile and positive but matter-of-fact delivery that is refreshing from a real estate sales professional. Potential buyers respond to him as well as Via Verde’s one-of-a-kind design. A former bond trader, Reed finds daily fulfillment in working the affordable home sector.

“Here I was on Wall St., watching billions of dollars move around every day,” he says. “Then I would come home to the Bronx, where I was born, and see people living in terrible conditions. I wanted to do something about it, something where I could make a difference.”

Working the condo and co-op circuit, Reed has put thousands of first-time buyers into their homes.

“The big sell here is the price,” says Reed walking three generations of a family through the complex. “That’s why people are here. The location, design and green thing seal the deal.”
Josie Bisono bought a ground-floor three-bedroom. Living in Harlem, Bisono went to high school in the Bronx. She took three friends to see her new home.

“When I first asked people about this neighborhood, they were like, ‘I don’t know, moving there from Manhattan?’” says Bisono, smirking playfully at the friend with her now who said that. “It’s gorgeous, though, and close to the subway. I like the industrial look.”

Anytime I’ve walked it, the Melrose neighborhood and the Hub teem with people. Street vendors joke with pedestrians as they walk by. Urban clothing stores blast music. Around the corner, not two blocks away, Via Verde stands tall, rising like a stadium or giant emblem of a neighborhood on the up-and-up. That’s what it is. This is not social experimentation. It’s a place to live, at a fair price, for hardworking people. Silver in the sun, lit up at night as it will be when full, Via Verde is not a symbol of gentrification or hope, it’s good building and smart thinking.

“This will be a real residential community,” says Reed. “It cracks me up when people come out and put money down and then say, ‘Wait, I’m moving back to the Bronx.’ But now they say it with pride. There is something very good about that.”


April 30th, 2012, 10:12 PM
Rob Mintzes (http://www.flickr.com/photos/climatechanger/7092195107/sizes/l/in/photostream/)

Rob Mintzes (http://www.flickr.com/photos/climatechanger/6946129532/sizes/l/in/photostream/)

Rob Mintzes (http://www.flickr.com/photos/climatechanger/6946130378/sizes/l/in/photostream/)

Rob Mintzes (http://www.flickr.com/photos/climatechanger/7092198899/sizes/l/in/photostream/)

Rob Mintzes (http://www.flickr.com/photos/climatechanger/7092199415/sizes/l/in/photostream/)

Rob Mintzes (http://www.flickr.com/photos/climatechanger/7092200035/sizes/l/in/photostream/)

Rob Mintzes (http://www.flickr.com/photos/climatechanger/6946122464/sizes/l/in/photostream/)

Rob Mintzes (http://www.flickr.com/photos/climatechanger/7092195867/sizes/l/in/photostream/)

Rob Mintzes (http://www.flickr.com/photos/climatechanger/6946128718/sizes/l/in/photostream/)

Rob Mintzes (http://www.flickr.com/photos/climatechanger/6946120420/sizes/l/in/photostream/)

Rob Mintzes (http://www.flickr.com/photos/climatechanger/6946120894/sizes/l/in/photostream/)

Rob Mintzes (http://www.flickr.com/photos/climatechanger/6946121340/sizes/l/in/photostream/)

Rob Mintzes (http://www.flickr.com/photos/climatechanger/7092189359/sizes/l/in/photostream/)

April 30th, 2012, 11:45 PM
So. Cool.

I really hope it makes its tenants happy and ages well.

May 9th, 2012, 12:11 PM
So. Cool.

I really hope it makes its tenants happy and ages well.

I completely agree......looks awesome.....:cool:

They have a green roof on the longest flat section???

May 9th, 2012, 04:50 PM
The building looks really cool in these pictures, however I fear that those steel stairs won't age well.

October 6th, 2012, 08:38 PM
Some of the newer buildings in Melrose from Brook Avenue, 10/06/12


October 6th, 2012, 08:55 PM
Via Verde, 10/06/12

January 13th, 2013, 08:39 PM
Courtlandt Crescent seems to be nearing completion, rounding out a nice batch of development in Melrose Commons North. Here's a view from 163rd Street and Melrose Avenue, looking southwest. Note the curving facade to the right of the photo. This faces the northwest side of the site.


January 13th, 2013, 10:50 PM
It is a bit boring: a bland 'building standard' assemblage of brick and mortar. I like the curve on the one section of the facade; and at least it has the warm and textured affect of brickwork, as opposed to the commonly done cold and flat glass curtain wall.

Could be far worse: gets the usual 'easy C' with me.....lol

April 11th, 2013, 11:38 AM
Metropolis Magazine

On the Road with the Rudy Bruner Award: Via Verde - Bronx, NY

By Anne-Marie Lubenau
Thursday, April 11, 2013

Following our site visit to Congo Street Initiative in Dallas, the Bruner Foundation team headed to New York City to our next 2013 Rudy Bruner Award (http://www.brunerfoundation.org/rba/) finalist site, Via Verde (http://viaverdenyc.com/). Submitted by Jonathan Rose Companies (http://www.rosecompanies.com/) and Phipps Houses (http://www.phippsny.org/), Via Verde (the “Green Way”) is a 222-unit affordable housing development in the Melrose section of the South Bronx. The project, completed in 2012, was designed as a model for healthy and sustainable urban living.

View of Via Verde from fourth floor fruit tree orchard. Photograph: ©David Sundberg/Esto

We spent two cold, windy days on site, touring the project with the design and development team, taking photographs, as well as meeting with people involved in its development, design, and operation in the Bronx and Manhattan. Like the Congo Street Initiative, Via Verde illustrates another approach to designing affordable, sustainable housing, albeit at a larger scale and catalyzed by a different set of circumstances.

Via Verde grew out of two international design competitions that were part of the New Housing New York (NHNY) Legacy Project (http://www.aiany.org/NHNY/Legacy_About.html), which sought to create a new standard for affordable housing and development. The first, the 2004 NHNY Design Ideas Competition, was sponsored by AIA New York (AIANY) (http://aiany.aiany.org/index.php?section=aia-new-york) in partnership with New York City Council and the City University of New York and solicited design concepts for three sites. Powerhouse: New Housing New York (http://cfa.aiany.org/index.php?section=PE20012010&expid=183), an exhibit and public programming supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, showcased selected entries at AIANY’s Center for Architecture.

Response to this initiative sparked the subsequent New Housing New York Legacy Project, the first juried architect-developer design competition for affordable housing and sustainable development in the city, which focused solely on a difficult 60,000-square-foot triangular brownfield site a block south of the South Bronx’s Third Avenue commercial corridor. A steering committee of architects, developers, educators, and representatives of city agencies led the project in partnership with AIANY, the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the New York State Energy Research Development Authority (NYSERDA), and Enterprise Community Partners. An initial request for qualifications generated 32 submissions, five of which—including the eventual winning team of Phipps/Rose/Dattner/Grimshaw—were invited to submit more detailed designs. Criteria for final selection included innovative design, economic and environmental sustainability, replicable financing and ownership models and effective public private partnerships.

The final design by Dattner Architects (http://www.dattner.com/) and Grimshaw Architects (http://grimshaw-architects.com/) closely follows their competition entry. It includes 151 units of affordable rental housing, 71 units of co-op housing, and 7,500 square feet of ground level commercial retail and community space. Housing is divided into three linked structures that rise from 6 to 20 stories and wrap around a central, landscaped courtyard. An entrance on one side provides a secure point of access to the complex and gated courtyard.

Brook Avenue facade. Photograph: ©David Sundberg/Esto

Building entrance on Brook Avenue. Photograph: Bruner Foundation

The complex features 40,000 square feet of green roof space designed by Lee Weintraub Landscape Architects. A series of interconnected, cascading rooftop terraces step up from the courtyard and include a grove of evergreen trees, an apple orchard, and raised vegetable gardens. While the gardens are still dormant, Grow NYC (http://www.grownyc.org/) is coordinating a tenant gardening club that meets monthly and offers classes on healthy cooking using produce grown in the garden.

Roof plan illustrating gardens and landscaping. Illustration: Dattner Architects

Raised beds in vegetable garden. Photograph: Bruner Foundation

The LEED Gold certified project includes photovoltaic solar panels on the rooftops. Residential units have large windows, ceiling fans, and multiple exposures for cross ventilation, as air conditioning is not supplied by the building. Day-lit stairways, created using NYC Active Design Guidelines (http://www.nyc.gov/html/ddc/html/design/active_design.shtml), a fitness center, and exterior gardens encourage physical activity. A Living Green Guide with information on energy optimization and healthy living is given to residents when they move into the building. Tenants are participating in a study funded by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the MacArthur Foundation (http://www.macfound.org/) that will evaluate the health impact on the complex’s new low-income family residents.

Rooftop solar panels. Photograph: Bruner Foundation

Via Verde is part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan (http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/downloads/pdf/New-Housing-market-plan.pdf) and complements other city investment along the Third Avenue commercial corridor. The city’s administration helped the development team overcome complex development challenges and fund construction costs. The city convened a joint review committee including key agency representatives that met monthly to address and resolve issues associated with development review and approvals.

Financing for the $98 million project was provided by multiple tax bonds and subsidies that supported its sizeable construction costs and enable the rental units to be affordable to households earning 40% to 60% of average median income (AMI) and the coops to be affordable to households earning 70% to 100% AMI.

Via Verde, with its cascading roof gardens and facade of fiber-cement, aluminum, and wood panels and perpendicular sun screens stands out among the other brick buildings and towers in the neighborhood. It is also an example of a creative approach to the process of affordable housing design and development in New York, one that as many hope, will portend well for the future.

View of Via Verde from Third Avenue corridor. Photograph: Bruner Foundation

View of rooftops from tower. Photograph: Bruner Foundation

Anne-Marie Lubenau, AIA, is director of the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence (RBA) for the Bruner Foundation in Cambridge, Massachusetts. An architect and advocate for educating and engaging people in design of the built environment, she is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and was a 2012 Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

© Bellerophon Publications, Inc.

A winner, whether or not it wins.

April 11th, 2013, 11:51 AM
Renamed thread Melrose Development.

You folks can tag individual projects.

April 24th, 2013, 02:15 PM
Though Green Way looks nice enough now, it also looks ripe for dystopic deterioration in a few decade's time.

I could see a Dredd sequel being filmed here.

Edit: especially this view; imagine some hardass gang members standing around on a grey winter's day...


April 27th, 2013, 07:33 PM
^^Getting some pruitt igoe vibes there