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New Life Being Breathed into Waterfront in South Bronx

04/17/2015

Keith Rubenstein was immediately enthralled after seeing the Mott Haven neighborhood in South Bronx New York. He quickly gravitated to the amazing views of Manhattan but also the waterfront.

Rubenstein is a reputable real estate developer had explored the area previous and found an eclectic crowd, the area dotted with exciting new restaurants, and quaint old buildings still standing from the past manufacturing era.

The Somerset and Chetrit Project

Over the last four months, Somerset Partners LLC, owned by Rubenstein, and Chetrit Group  have joined forces to purchase five acres of land that sits near a stretch of industrial buildings by the Harlem River as reported by The Real Deal.

A residential community will be constructed to include up to six towers, each 25-story high consisting of affordable apartments, but also a retail space on the ground level. While this is the first project, discussion about upcoming Mott Haven projects are in the works.

As stated by Rubenstein, the plan for the South Bronx waterfront is to create opportunities for next generation developers. Mott Haven used to have real character. All we are doing is taking something that is already good and simply making it better.

Advocates of the community and local officials are excited about the joint venture and believe it will pave the way for the desired redevelopment of this area along the waterfront. Ruben Diaz, Jr., president with the Bronx Borough, called the project a catalyst that would make it possible for large developers to give South Bronx a new image.

The waterfront area has helped push prices up in other nearby boroughs and been beneficial for developers who have been forced out of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Queens due to high pricing.

Two Prime Locations

For 2401 Third Avenue and 101 Lincoln Avenue, Somerset and Chetrit paid $58 million. That particular area was created back in 2009 with the intent of boosting private residential living along with commercial and retail projects. The vision also included public spaces being developed on underutilized plots of land.

These two sites are extremely attractive since they have an existing eclectic mix of workers and residents but the number 6 train stops nearby and there are several roads that provide easy and quick access into Manhattan.

The analysis for the first phase of the waterfront redevelopment was released last November. This included the properties purchased by Somerset and Chetrit where roughly 2.8 million square feet of affordable apartments will be built. However, this area can also accommodate 2.3 million square feet of office, light manufacturing, and retail space, as well as 1 million square feet for public access to include parks, recreation centers, and a shoreline walkway.

Overall, it will take at minimum $500 million in private investment coupled with $200 million in local, state, and federal funds to completely revamp the South Bronx waterfront area. A percentage of the needed funding will come from developers adding in required infrastructure.

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