Since a vast industrial swath of Mott Haven was rezoned in the South Bronx several years ago, affordable housing developers have slowly begun to build in the area, taking advantage of large vacant lots and cheap, derelict factories. Monadnock Construction has filed plans for a 12-story affordable building at 491 Gerard Avenue, a block over from the Major Deegan Expressway and a short walk from the 2, 4 and 5 trains at 149th Street-Grand Concourse.
The residential project will occupy most of a block bounded by East 149th Street, East 146th Street, Gerard Avenue and Exterior Street. It will reach 120 feet into the air and host 136 fairly large apartments. They’ll be divided across 130,880 square feet of residential space, yielding an average unit of 962 square feet. Fifty of the apartments will be duplexes, indicating that these units may be three or four-bedrooms designed for families. The duplexes are unusual for an affordable development, as are the amenities listed on the Schedule A.
There will be 81 bike parking spots and laundry in the cellar, two recreation spaces on the first floor, a fitness room and a shared roof deck. The plans don’t call for any parking, so we’re assuming the developer expects City Planning’s zoning tweaks for affordable housing to go through before the project gets approved.
The architects of record are Dattner, who have designed a slew of attractive and energy-efficient affordable projects across the five boroughs, including the award-winning (and expensive) Via Verde complex nearby in Woodstock.
Monadnock has partnered with Signature Urban Properties LLC, headed by Robert Frost and Gifford Miller, to develop the project. A spokesman tells us 491 Gerard will actually be part of a three-building complex that will include a 152-room Hampton Inn Hotel along East 149th Street at the corner of Gerard Avenue and a 157-unit affordable rental building at 530 Exterior Street. Plans for the hotel and the second 13-story rental building have both been filed and disapproved. Dattner is handling the design for all three buildings.
The developers plan to construct 491 Gerard last, and expect that it will be an affordable, mixed-income rental. However, they haven’t finalized the financial plan yet, and they’re unsure what the unit breakdown will be.
It’s unclear who owns the 50,488-square-foot lot, but Monadnock leased the property for $3,542,000 last year. The site currently houses a single-story industrial building, which used to be a wholesale food distributor.