Somerset Partners and the Chetrit Group will start construction on their seven-building South Bronx development within a month. The news comes as a small aside in a New York Times piece about a boxing gym in the South Bronx, one of several businesses in the area incubated by developer Keith Rubenstein of Somerset Partners in the lead up to the development.
The project, the biggest private development in Bronx history, has made news over the past year for several hiccups that angered Bronx residents. In 2015 a billboard billing the area as The Piano District incited anger and sparked gentrification fears. In late 2015, a Port Morris warehouse party celebrating the development amid staged burned-out, bullet-ridden cars and other reductionist tropes of the old Bronx drew ire from the community and elected officials.
“We tried to move on from the party,” Rubenstein told the Times. “The party was a misunderstanding from what we were trying to achieve. I take responsibility for it.”
Although construction has yet to commence at the 1.3 million square foot site, the Times says Rubenstein has already invested in six businesses in the area surrounding 101 Lincoln Avenue and 2401 Third Avenue: Filtered Coffee, La Grata pizzaria, a boutique called 9J owned by Bronx designer Jérôme LaMaar, streetwear label Famous Nobodys, Bronx Artspace, and the Bronx Museum. The development will also usher in an affordably priced food hall developed by Somerset called Bruckner Market.
Curbed previously reported that at 2401 Third Avenue the development team is planning a 25-story standalone tower, and a 25-story and 16-story building that will sit on top of an eight-story base. This phase of development will include 430 rentals that will come in studio through three-bedroom variants. There are also plans for a 175-car garage.
At 101 Lincoln Avenue, the development team will build three 24-story buildings, and a 22-story building that will sit on top of a six and seven-story base. This phase will include 849 apartments, along with 20,500 square feet of retail and 1,100 square feet of community space. Hill West Architects are designing the project. Previous reports say the entirety of the project will include market-rate apartments.
The development team has also planned a 25,500-square-foot, publicly accessible waterfront esplanade along the Harlem River, an area that’s now not easily accessible by the public. Construction on the Third Avenue site is expected to wrap in the summer of 2019.
Curbed has reached out to Somerset Partners for comment.