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'Beautiful Open Space For Food And Thought' in Bronx Post Office Plan

By Eddie Small | November 27, 2015 10:39am | Updated on November 29, 2015 7:59pm
 Developers Youngwoo and Associates hope to turn the Bronx General Post Office into a complex with a food market, a rooftop restaurant and office space.
Developers Youngwoo and Associates hope to turn the Bronx General Post Office into a complex with a food market, a rooftop restaurant and office space.
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DNAinfo/Eddie Small

SOUTH BRONX — The developers who purchased the Bronx General Post Office hope to transform it into a commercial real estate complex with a rooftop restaurant and ground floor food market sandwiching two floors of office space.

Youngwoo and Associates, which confirmed its purchase of the site last September and now co-owns the place with the Bristol Group, recently put up a website focused on its ideas for the building at 149th Street and Grand Concourse, which they are rebranding as Bronx Post Place and describing as "a crossroads for community, commerce and culture."

Although the post office will continue to operate out of the site, Youngwoo intends to add retail, dining and office space to the historic building.

The company would ideally like to feature some type of food market on the ground floor of the building that would focus on highlighting local vendors, according to Director of Marketing Christine Nebiar.

"There’s a lot of culinary talent in the South Bronx and in The Bronx, so we are envisioning some sort of food hall space," she said.

The next floor would contain 50,000 square feet of commercial office space for one business, while the floor above it would be divided up into smaller office space for professionals ranging from lawyers to yoga instructors, Nebiar said.

Space for personal offices start at $950 a month and include amenities like conference rooms, desk shares and WiFi service.

Youngwoo also plans on turning the roof of the building into an eatery.

"We’ll have some sort of restaurant, which is cool because there are no spaces in that neighborhood for anyone to go to a rooftop and have a drink," Nebiar said.

Youngwoo is not ready to announce tenants for Bronx Post Place yet but hopes to reveal some of them in January. The building should be ready to open in 2017.

Construction on the original post office began in 1935 and the building was completed in 1937. It achieved New York City landmark status in 1976 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

The inside of the post office includes 13 murals that were inspired by Walt Whitman's poem "I Hear America Singing," which is meant to celebrate the country's work ethic.

Although fears of gentrification are currently high in The Bronx, Community Board 4 member John Howard Algarin said he did not see the pending arrival of Bronx Post Place as a sign of it.

"I don’t think this is that kind of party," he said. "I think that the economically challenged and the new coming hipsters could all enjoy a beautiful open space for food and thought."

"It’s the General Post Office. It belongs to the community," he continued. "There’s not going to be a red velvet rope outside."

Nebiar agreed, stressing that the amenities Youngwoo hoped to bring to the neighborhood were primarily meant to be for the people who live there.

"We’re not trying to pull lower Manhattan to the South Bronx," she said.

"We’re just trying to add value to the South Bronx as it is for the people that are actually in residence there, and if people decide to come and visit us, that’s cool."