THE BRONX — Real estate investments skyrocketed to more than $1 billion last year in South Bronx neighborhoods like Mott Haven and Melrose, according to a report from the Bronx Borough President's Office.
The annual development report that Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.'s office recently released showed that roughly $1.1 billion poured into Bronx Community District 1 in 2015, a huge increase from 2013 and 2014, when the district saw investments of roughly $140 million and $180 million, respectively.
That's an increase of nearly 700 percent from two years ago.
Investment throughout the borough was about $2.4 billion last year, a sharp increase from the roughly $1.1 billion invested in 2014 and the roughly $900 million invested in 2013, according to Diaz's office.
Diaz touted the report in a statement as evidence that The Bronx is seeing "unprecedented levels of development" and pledged to work to keep residents from being left out of the wave of new commercial and residential projects.
"As we continue to attract new investors and new interest in our borough, my office will continue our efforts to ensure that the ongoing revitalization of The Bronx works for everyone,” he said.
La Central is a massive affordable housing project coming to 430 Westchester Ave. by The Hub consisting of 992 apartments, a YMCA, a television studio, a public skate park and a rooftop telescope, along with more than 45,000 square feet of new retail space.
The project accounted for about $418 million of investment in Community District 1 in 2015 and should be finished in early 2019, according to the report and The Hudson Companies, the development firm spearheading the project.
Somerset Partners and The Chetrit Group are working on building a residential and retail complex at 101 Lincoln Ave. and 2401 Third Ave. with 1,198 units, and their project accounted for about $349 million of investment in Community District 1 last year, according to the report.
The project stirred up some controversy last fall when the developers put up a billboard by the site announcing that the "Piano District" was coming soon, which many locals viewed as a sign that gentrification was on its way to the neighborhood.
Somerset Partners Founder Keith Rubenstein has since taken down the billboard and stressed that it was not meant to be offensive or rebrand the neighborhood.
Community District 1 had the most investment by far in 2015 in The Bronx. Its closest competitor was Community District 3, consisting of neighborhoods like Morrisania and Claremont, which saw about $250 million of investment last year.
La Central and Somerset/Chetrit were the two biggest projects by investment in The Bronx in 2015, while other major developments included Compass Residences in West Farms, 200 E. 135th St. in Port Morris and 111 E. 172nd St. in Claremont.
Cedric Loftin, district manager of Bronx Community Board 1, said factors ranging from easy public transportation access to nice restaurants were making the South Bronx more attractive, and the goal was now to make sure that everyone can benefit from changes coming to the neighborhood.
"I think all change that occurs that’s positive, where you have a mixed income community, is what we all are looking for," he said, "that you do not have a certain portion that does not receive the services that others will receive."