Back in 2011, Dattner Architects created the West Farms Redevelopment Plan, a rezoning (the largest ever in the Bronx at the time) of a 17-acre, 11-block former industrial area in Crotona Park East. The plan calls for a total of 1,325 affordable housing units, 46,000 square feet of retail, and community facilities. Dattner’s first two buildings in the complex are called theCompass Residences, which provide 237 apartments arranged around a series of courtyards. This past December, 114 of these residences at 1544 Boone Avenue came online through the city’s affordable housing lottery, and now, 120 more at 1524 Boone Avenue are open to New Yorkers earning 60 and 90 percent of the area median income, ranging from $822/month studios to $1,740/month three-bedrooms.
When the West Farms Redevelopment Plan came to fruition in 2011, it was the largest private rezoning ever in the Bronx. The 17-acre, 11-block site in Crotona Park East was a former industrial area that’s being transformed according to a master plan by Dattner Architects that calls for a total of 1,325 units of affordable housing and 46,000 square feet of retail space and community facilities. The first two buildings in the complex, also designed by Dattner, are called the Compass Residences and offer 237 units organized around a series of “gracious courtyards.” As of today, 114 of these apartments are available through the city’s affordable housing lottery. They’re open to individuals earning 60 percent of the area media income and range from $822/month studios to $1,224/month three-bedrooms.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the Bronx is burning.” The infamous phrase, uttered in a 1977 broadcast of a Bronx fire, has stuck in the mind of many New Yorkers even today. Indeed, the Bronx saw a sharp decline in population and quality of life in the late 1960s and 1970s, which culminated in a wave of arson. By the early 1980s, the South Bronx was considered one of the most blighted neighborhoods in the country, with a 60 percent decline in population and 40 percent decline of housing units.
Although revitalization picked up by the ’90s, the Bronx never quite took off like its outer-borough counterparts Brooklyn and Queens. While media hype, quickly rising prices and a rush of development has come to characterize those two boroughs, the Bronx has flourished more quietly. The borough, nevertheless, has become home to growth and development distinct from the rest of New York City. Innovative affordable housing, adaptive reuse projects, green development and strong community involvement are redefining the area. As Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said during this Municipal Arts Society discussion in 2014, this is “The New Bronx.”