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Bronx detention center’s affordable housing conversion will soon break ground

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The $121.5 million residential phase of the project will wrap up in 2021

A rendering of the planned Hunts Point development.
Gilbane Development Company

Plans to transform a long-abandoned Bronx detention center into an entirely affordable mixed-use development are moving forward.

The development team—Gilbane Development Company, Hudson Companies and the Mutual Housing Association of New York—plan to break ground on the site of the former Spofford Juvenile Detention Center by the end of the month, paving the way for the first phase of residential construction.

The Hunts Point jail was notorious for its abysmal conditions, and closed eight years ago. It was finally demolished over the last 11 months, and now, the site will be reimagined with housing, space for artists and light industrial use, a public plaza, and more. The development is a turning point in overhauling the area’s legacy of incarceration into one of community investment, say local leaders.

“This development is a metaphor for the positive rebirth and redevelopment of so many Bronx communities that were, for too long, neglected and ignored,” says Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

The project, known as The Peninsula, is being developed in partnership with the city to create 740 units of below-market-rate housing, community and open space for locals, light industrial space such as a kitchen for culinary startups, a day care center, workspace for artists, a wellness center, and ground-floor retail. In June, the development was one of eight to win an Excellence in Design award from the Public Design Commission’s annual review of projects planned for city-owned land.

Studios to four-bedrooms will be available at three income brackets: extremely low (0-30 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), very low (31-50 percent AMI) and low (51-80 percent AMI.) An additional 10 percent of the apartments will be set aside for the formerly homeless.

The $121.5 million residential leg of the project is expected to wrap up in 2021 with the entire development slated for completion by 2025. Once completed, the site will offer educational resources such as career development programming, below-market-rate workspace rentals for local entrepreneurs, and other opportunities to help the surrounding area prosper, according to city officials.

“The Peninsula epitomizes this administration’s commitment to creating opportunity in every corner of the city,” says Louise Carroll, the commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. “Whether through housing, economic development, or other critical resources that bolster our neighborhoods and help New Yorkers thrive.”