There is also the fear that rising prices of housing — and also staples like groceries — will force out longtime residents.
“Gentrification is definitely a concern,” said Nöelle Santos, 34, the Bronx-born owner of the Lit. Bar, a two-year-old bookstore on Alexander Avenue. “Are the people whom I set out to serve still going to be here at the end of my lease?”
Some of the buildings currently going up in the neighborhood are marketed as entirely affordable, including a new 26-story tower with 277 rent-reduced units at 425 Grand Concourse, on the site of a 19th-century school building at East 144th Street, from a team led by Trinity Financial.
The building, which will include community college classrooms, a health clinic and a grocery store, will be available to those making from 30 percent to no more than 100 percent of the median income for the New York City region. (A family of three with an annual income of $32,220 would reach the 30 percent level.)
Smaller projects are being built as well, like 261 Walton Avenue, a 190-unit all-affordable undertaking from JCAL Development Group, with rents targeted at those making 27 percent to 77 percent of the regional median income. The firm got its start in the neighborhood in 2014, with 55 Bruckner Boulevard, a four-story, four-unit market-rate project whose small size was typical of earlier redevelopment projects.
“The scale of what’s going on right now is impressive,” said Joshua Weissman, the president of JCAL.
There seems little doubt that the South Bronx, once scorned and avoided, is on the cusp of new era.
“It’s a community that looks you in the eye, and says hello and wants to know where you’re from,” said Kathryn Creech, who moved there from the Upper East Side in 2017 to open Mottley Kitchen, a cafe on East 140th Street that added rooftop yoga during the pandemic. “There’s just something a little different here.”
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