As a plan for potential development along the South Bronx waterfront begins to gain critical momentum, the reality of the proposed $500 million redevelopment project has begun to sink in for neighbors and officials alike. Announced by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. at his annual State of the Borough Address, the plan calls for the redevelopment of Exterior Street along the Harlem River between 138th and 149th streets into an esplanade, bounded by restaurants, stores, and residential towers, the Times reports. In an attempt to "rebrand" the South Bronx as a destination, as Brooklyn's done before it, city officials estimate the project will cost more than $500 million, only some of which will be yielded by private developers. Much of the rest of the cost will fall on the already financially-burdened city.
But the South Bronx has already given to the city-at-large in a way that poises this waterfront redevelopment as appropriate for the low-profile 'hood: the land on which New Yankee Stadium sits was formerly public parkland. The proposed redevelopment plan, which links Yankee Stadium's nearby Mill Pond Park with the currently industrial waterfront strip between 138th and 149th streets, would create a continuous public walkway accessible by the span's several bridges connecting Manhattan and the Bronx. Apparently already poised for redevelopment, zoning for the waterfront district was approved by the city in 2009, and allows residential and commercial towers to rise up to 400 feet on lots 100,000 square feet or larger.
This project has not found certain footing just yet. Some local workers are worried that the development will dislocate local business and compromise their jobs, despite Diaz's vow to help displaced workers find other jobs. Other opponents to the plan are unsure of whether the necessary funds from the city will constitute their best-use. Even if the waterfront plan does not move forward, at the very least, the clamor surrounding the proposed development has drawn eyes and minds to the largely development-neglected 'hood.
· In South Bronx, Visions of a Bustling Shoreline [NYT]
· Advocates Want Another Brooklyn Bridge Park ... in the Bronx [Curbed]