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Bruckner Boulevard to Get New Coffee Shop, Lounge and More

 Several new developments are slated for a strip of Port Morris that has become a Bronx destination.
Bruckner Blvd. Continues to Evolve With New Coffee Shop, Lounge and More
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PORT MORRIS — Television studios, a coffee and tapas bar, a late-night lounge and an upscale liquor store could all be headed to a two-block stretch of Bruckner Boulevard that has seen a whirlwind of development in recent years.

The coming attractions follow several eateries that arrived in the neighborhood in the past few years, fueling the area’s ongoing evolution from an industrial district into a hip hub.

“I hope it continues to become a destination — the Meatpacking District of The Bronx,” said Rob Salese, general manager of the new lounge, Club Miami.

The strip of Bruckner Boulevard with several recent and upcoming developments extends from Lincoln Avenue slightly past Alexander Avenue — a sector some realtors have sought to brand as "SoBro."

One historic structure there, the four-story brick building at 20 Bruckner Blvd. that was an ice-making factory before the era of refrigeration, has become best known in recent years for the massive History Channel sign on its roof.

With a major renovation of the building underway, the owner is now in talks with three potential tenants, including two high-end art storage firms and an out-of-state television production company, said Jorge Madruga, a developer who has partnered with the building owner.

The production company could sign a long-term lease as soon as next week for the building, which has sat vacant for the past five years, Madruga said.

The company would rent the entire 163,000-square-foot building and produce shows there, he added.

“It’s an artsy neighborhood,” he said. “The studio would be a great fit.”

The hydroponic gardening supply shop that occupied the corner storefront at Alexander Avenue and Bruckner Boulevard for the past few years recently left.

Taking its place will be a coffee shop that serves pastries in the morning, sandwiches and salads in the afternoon and tapas in the evening.

The light menu will lean toward “Latin cuisine” and include many meatless options, which the neighborhood seems to be short on, said co-owner Derek Goodman, previously a restaurant manager in Manhattan.

The shop will also feature a full bar serving beer, wine and cocktails, seating for roughly 40 people and it will have a small performance space when it opens later this year, Goodman added.

“I have a feeling that we’re going to have a lot of people who will want to hang out,” he said.

Club Miami is set to become the latest hot spot at 26 Bruckner Blvd., replacing Gallery Lounge, which closed last summer after a four-and-a-half-year run.

When it opens next month, the new lounge will serve tropical drinks and tapas in a South Beach-inspired setting complete with palm trees and a saltwater fish tank, said Salese, the general manager, who also ran Gallery Lounge.

“We want to give people the vibe of going to Manhattan or Miami without having to go over the bridge or get on a plane,” Salese said.

An empty storefront at 45 Bruckner Blvd. will house an “upscale” liquor and wine store within the next few months, said real-estate broker Jason Shand, who manages the unit.

The lease stipulates that the store cannot be encased in bulletproof glass, which would send the wrong message to current and potential neighbors, said Shand, who has lived in the area for 13 years.

“I have to show people this neighborhood a lot,” he said. “I do not want to take them by a bulletproof-glass liquor store.”

Within the last couple of years, four new restaurants — Ceetay, Clock Bar, El Habanero and Wish 37 — have set up shop in this buzzed-about corner of Port Morris.

The owners of the Clock Bar, which celebrated its one-year anniversary this month, plan to expand the restaurant and eventually hope to open a boutique grocery and beer garden next door.

“This area has positioned itself to flourish over the next three years,” said co-owner Michael Brady.