Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Rezoning: A Lasting Legacy of Mayor Bloomberg

While there's plenty to complain about when it comes to New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg (the inane and likely unconstitutional soda ban being one), one area that he's excelled at is the ability to get vast swaths of underutilized areas of the city rezoned for commercial and residential development.

That includes major developments like Hudson Yards, Atlantic Yards, DUMBO, and now a portion of the Bronx near the Sheridan Expressway.
A development firm co-founded by Gifford Miller, a former New York City Council speaker, though, is betting that the stretch, rezoned for residential use last October, can be transformed into what the Bronx borough president, Rubén Díaz Jr., calls “a small city.” The project, which is to include 1,325 units of housing and 46,000 square feet of retail space, took an important step forward this month, when it received $1.2 million in capital financing from Mr. Diaz’s office and another $1.3 million allocated by City Councilman Joel Rivera.

That money, combined with financing from the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, will allow Mr. Miller’s company, Signature Urban Properties, to move forward on construction of the project’s first two buildings, he said. The initial plans call for a total of 237 residential units and 4,200 square feet of retail space in those structures, with low-income housing in one building and moderate-income housing in the other. Construction could begin as soon as early next year, Mr. Miller said, with the entire 10-building project taking seven to nine years to complete.
The Bronx development would benefit greatly from the elimination of the Sheridan Expressway and replace it with a grade level boulevard with park space. The Sheridan is functionally obsolete and the traffic isn't commensurate with the effort devoted to maintaining the roadway (to say nothing of the mess it makes of the Bruckner Expressway interchange.

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