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Notorious Bronx juvenile center will transform into affordable housing, community space

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The massive mixed-use project will include more than 700 affordable apartments and plenty of open space

What was once the Spofford Juvenile Detention Center is on its way to becoming the Peninsula, a massive development due to include affordable housing, recreational and industrial space, community facilities, and retail.

Located in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx, it is being developed by the team of Gilbane Development Co., the Hudson Cos., and Mutual Housing Association of New York, according to the Wall Street Journal. Their proposal was selected by the New York City Economic Development Corporation, who sought a developer to re-imagine the five-acre site. The detention center, which earned a negative reputation after concerns were raised about the treatment of youth, was closed by the city in 2011.

"In many ways, it was not just a symbol of how juvenile justice from a policy point of view was performed throughout the decades, but also the historic, negative stigma and perception of the area that was embodied in that building," Maria Torres-Springer, president of the NYCEDC, told the Journal.

This major transformation will include 740 units of affordable housing, 52,000 square feet of open and recreational space, 49,000 square feet of light industrial space, 48,000 square for community facilities, and 21,000 square feet of retail space. A bakery, bank and supermarket are slated to be included in the retail space.

Given the site’s proximity to the Hunts Point Market, food production facilities will play a significant role within the complex. And the Point Community Development Corporation, located a few blocks from the former detention facility, is in discussions to manage about 15,000 square feet of artist space here.

The whole project will encompass five different buildings, set to be constructed over three phases. The $300 million development is expected to wrap by 2024.