Rendering courtesy of WXY Architecture + Urban Design
The Spofford Juvenile Detention Center (later renamed Bridges Juvenile Center) was built in 1957 in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx, quickly gaining a reputation for its poor conditions–the Daily News once described it as “vermin-infested” and said it “held about 100 youth in dark cells with no air conditioning.” It was closed in 2011, at which time urban revitalization consultant Majora Carter began her quest to have the site transformed into a mixed-use housing complex. The city eventually stepped in, and today officials announced plans for the Peninsula, an affordable housing development that will rise on the five-acre site and offer 740 apartments, 52,000 square feet of open and recreational space, 49,000 square feet of light industrial space, 48,000 square feet for community facilities like health care providers, 21,000 square feet of retail, and 15,000 square feet of artist space, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Current Google Street View of Spofford
As 6sqft previously reported, Majora Carter “got the ball rolling on the development of Hunts Point Riverside Park and served as Executive Director of Sustainable South Bronx for seven years. She now operates the Majora Carter Group, a consulting company that works on sustainable developments.” They had previously worked with architects at Perkins Eastman on an idea for the Spofford site, but the mayoral transition left the proposal in flux. Then, the New York City Economic Development Corporation oversaw a selection process for the project and chose the Peninsula LLC, a proposal from Gilbane Development Co., the Hudson Cos. and Mutual Housing Association of New York.
Not only will apartments be reserved for low-income New Yorkers, but those with moderate income levels, as well. Food production will play a big role in the development; so far, a bakery, supermarket, and bank are planned. As for the artists’ space, the nearby Point Community Development Corporation is in talks to manage the space and hopefully bring back a dance company that moved from the neighborhood due to rising rents.
Maria Torres-Springer, president and chief executive of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, said, “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. Finally we are going to create a new space that is a positive space that hopefully supports the community and also gets people from outside to look at Hunts Point differently.” The EDC estimates that the project will cost $300 million and be completed by 2024.
- Could Spofford Juvenile Center in Hunts Point Become Mixed-Income Housing? Majora Carter Thinks So.
- A New York Minute With Urban Revitalization Consultant Majora Carter
- Going Green and Curbing Gentrification: How the Bronx Is Doing It Differently