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Another Large Development Could Be Headed to Red-Hot South Bronx Waterfront

By Eddie Small | December 2, 2016 1:33pm
 The state has put out a request for expressions of interest for a portion of Harlem River Yards, a site along the South Bronx waterfront.
The state has put out a request for expressions of interest for a portion of Harlem River Yards, a site along the South Bronx waterfront.
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Empire State Development

PORT MORRIS — New York State wants to bring another massive development to the red-hot South Bronx waterfront.

Empire State Development is looking for developers for a site at Harlem River Yards, a 96-acre stretch of land located along the water by the Willis Avenue Bridge that includes a rail facility, a Federal Express distribution center, a printing facility and a solid waste transfer station.

The yard is owned by the New York State Department of Transportation, and the portion that would be developed consists of 12.8 acres of land above the rail yard bordered by E. 132nd Street, Lincoln Avenue, the Willis Avenue Bridge and the Harlem River. The developer would have to build a deck over the rail yard and then put the project on top of it.

“It’s exciting and very rare to offer the opportunity to develop more than a dozen acres of prime waterfront land in New York City,” Empire State Development President Howard Zemsky said in a statement.

Project ideas should include affordable housing, make it easier for the public to access the Harlem River waterfront, provide a boost to the economy and not interfere with the current tenants at Harlem River Yards, according to Empire State Development.

Interest in revitalizing the South Bronx waterfront has spiked in recent years. Developer Keith Rubenstein plans to turn part of the area by the Third Avenue Bridge into a large residential and retail complex, and the nonprofit New York Restoration Project hopes to build new waterfront parks at 132nd Street and 134th Street in Port Morris as part a plan called The Haven Project.

There has also been interest in developing the borough's rail yards, as Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. put out a report in February naming the one by Lehman College as a perfect site for housing, retail and an expansion of the school.

Diaz said in a statement that he was excited about the idea of developing the Harlem River Yards as well.

"New deck construction has the potential to bring transformative development projects to many Bronx neighborhoods," he said. "I look forward to examining the level of interest this RFEI brings to the Harlem River Yards, and how that interest could inform future opportunities for platform projects."

There will be an optional tour of the site on Dec. 14, and Empire State Development must receive all questions about the RFEI by Dec. 19 at 5 p.m. and all proposals by Feb. 2 at 2 p.m.