Politicos, Real Estate Executives Flock to HGAR’s ‘Bronx County Day’

Politicos, Real Estate Executives Flock to HGAR’s ‘Bronx County Day’
From left, Assemblyman Al Taylor, 71st Assembly District; Joanna Mendez, Chief of Staff for Senator Luis Sepulveda, 32nd Senate District; Assemblyman John Zaccaro, Jr., 80th Assembly District; HGAR Chief Executive Officer Lynda Fernandez; Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson; HGAR President Tony D’Anzica; Assemblyman Kenny Burgos, 85th Assembly District and Eliezer Rodriguez, Regional Government Affairs Director for HGAR/Director, Bronx Chapter.

NEW YORK—The Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors held its second annual “Bronx County Day” recently that was attended by more than 100 Realtor members and staff, as well as a host of politicians representing the borough, including Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson.

At the event, held at the Castle Hill YMCA, commercial and residential real estate practitioners, borough and state political leaders, as well as HGAR leadership participated in a wide-ranging program that highlighted the heightened investment and opportunities that exist in the Bronx as it recovers from the devastation brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the highlights of the afternoon’s program offerings was Bronx Borough President Gibson’s upbeat view on the future of the Bronx, noting a host of beneficial initiatives that will fuel economic growth in the Bronx, including improvements at Orchard Beach, the new Hip-Hop Museum and the four new Metro-North stations in the east Bronx (Hunts Point, Morris Park, Co-op City, and Parkchester/Van Nest) as part of the Penn Access project by the MTA. In total, she noted that there is approximately $2.7 billion in investment earmarked for the Bronx in the coming years.

Speaking directly to the HGAR attendees, Gibson said, “I appreciate the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors. I appreciate all of you, whether you are a Realtor, a property manager or a landlord, you are invested in this borough by the jobs you create, the taxes you pay, stimulating the economy with the businesses that you support. That is a part of the renaissance of this borough.”

She noted that while there is much more work to be done, Gibson said, “The forecast and the picture of the Bronx is bright and we want to shine bright with jobs and opportunities with access to investment, with partnerships and collaboration and most importantly seeing the promise and the potential of our borough. I know I can speak for my colleagues that we are no longer going to be first in everything bad and last in everything good.”

HGAR President Tony D’Anzica highlighted the major initiatives undertaken by the association in 2023.

The program began with presentations by Eliezer “Eli” Rodriguez, Esq., Regional Government Affairs Director for HGAR/Director, Bronx Chapter of HGAR; Pedro Barry, President of the Board of Managers for the Castle Hill YMCA; Tony D’Anzica, President of HGAR; Lynda Fernandez, HGAR Chief Executive Officer and HGAR Chief Strategy Officer Gary Connolly, who highlighted some of the major initiatives and programs undertaken by the association and its subsidiary OneKey MLS in 2023.

Among the speakers at Bronx County Day was Rob Walsh, president of the Bronx Economic Development Corp., who discussed a host of projects that have broken ground or are in the pipeline that will bring new housing, commercial space and jobs to the borough.

Walsh noted that Brookfield Properties’ The Third at Bankside mixed-use project is one of the largest private investment endeavors in the Bronx at $950 million. Bankside will consist of two parcels on each side of the Third Avenue Bridge in the Mott Haven section and will involve seven tower buildings totaling 1.4 million square feet of space that will also include 15,000 square feet of retail space.

He also noted that construction has topped out on the first phase of Bronx Point, a 22-story mixed-use building at 575 Exterior St. in the South Bronx. The project will produce 542 units of permanently affordable housing units, along with 56,000 square feet of community space and 12,000 square feet of retail space. The property will be the home of the Universal Hip Hop Museum. The building is the first to be developed as part of the $349-million mixed-use master plan that will eventually feature 1,045 apartments and nearly three acres of public green space.

Other significant development projects include Fordham Landing, a 2.5-million mixed-use community that will include 2,380 apartments (720 deemed affordable) located on approximately 30 acres. The ambitious proposal calls for 800,000 square feet for a life sciences center, a hotel, waterfront bars and restaurants, an e-sports center and 15,000 square feet of retail space. The project also envisions the construction of a 350,000-square-foot community facility building.

Another exciting development in the borough is The Peninsula, a dramatic re-imagining of the former Spofford Juvenile Detention Facility into a mixed-use campus and a light industrial building home to small start-up and growing manufacturing businesses, featuring a health and wellness center, fresh food grocer, affordable housing for the Hunts Point neighborhood, and a live-work community for the South Bronx tech and creative sectors.

Key facets of The Peninsula will include: 740 units of 100% affordable housing, 52,000 square feet of publicly accessible open space, including a new plaza, 50,000 square feet of light industrial space, 53,500 square feet of community facility space and 15,000 square feet of commercial space.

Gilbane Development Company, Hudson Companies, and MHANY Management have secured $297 million to complete phase two of The Peninsula. The next phase includes two new affordable housing buildings, known as 2A and 2B that will yield 359 apartments. This phase will also create a 50,000-square-foot plaza, a 155-vehicle parking garage, and a 20,000-square-foot community facility space. The majority of the apartments will be designated for individuals and households at or below 60% area median income.

In his informative presentation, Walsh also noted a number of economic and investment opportunities, including the recent release of the Request for Proposals for the Kingsbridge Armory. The proposal includes a combined $200-million investment by New York State and New York City in the future redevelopment of the storied armory.

The program also featured an insightful Commercial Real Estate Panel moderated by MacKenzie Forsberg, HGAR CID Vice Chair, and Kathy Zamechansky, Owner and President of KZA Realty Group, Inc. The panelists were: Lisa Sorin, President of the Bronx Chamber of Commerce; Anthony Mormile, Senior Commercial Loan Officer at Orange Bank & Trust Co.; David Simone, President Concourse Realty Partners, and Raphael Rogers, Executive Director at Business Initiative Corporation (BIC) of New York.

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