Bronx Real Estate Development
Developers and investors are quietly rushing in, spending millions to get in on the city’s next real estate frontier
The sun was shining and the air was crisp when 30 real estate pros from CIM Group , Kushner Real Estate Group, Criterion Group and Mitsui Fudosan boarded a bus idling on Park Avenue bound for the Bronx. The field trip, organized by white-shoe law firm Herrick Feinstein, promised a tour of the borough’s rapidly changing neighborhoods — including the much-buzzed-about South Bronx — which is how the group of developers found themselves hurtling over the Third Avenue bridge one afternoon in the middle of last month. Clutching swag bags with granola bars, mints and maps, the group filed onto a red trolley at the Bronx Courthouse and for the next 90 minutes, traversed the borough, craning their necks to catch glimpses of a burgeoning development landscape.
“We make shidduchs, that’s what we do,” said Herrick partner Jonathan Adelsberg, chair of the commercial leasing department, invoking the Hebrew term for matchmaking.
“You can’t be a great real estate lawyer until you understand the market. We do what we can to expose opportunities to our clients,” he noted over pasta and eggplant Parmesan at Pasquale Rigoletto, the Arthur Avenue eatery where the tour concluded.
The Bronx, which has long fought its image of a borough besotted by arson, poverty and urban decay, is now a hot commodity among the same investors and developers who overlooked it for years. In 2014, it saw an influx of $1.2 billion worth of real estate investment, a 26 percent jump from the prior year, according to data from Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.’s office.
Some of the key commercial and retail projects reshaping the Bronx include the redevelopment by Youngwoo Associates of the Bronx General Post Office into an open-air food market, the conversion of the Kingsbridge Armory into an ice-skating complex with nine rinks and the construction of new Bronx headquarters for Fresh Direct, which is moving from Long Island City.
But residential projects are the darling of developers, who pumped $788 million of the $1.2 billion into the Bronx last year. This year, the borough is on track to see a record 8,000 new residential units hit the market, up from 3,697 a year ago, according to Diaz’s office.
Rising land prices in other boroughs, coupled with the Bronx’s proximity to Manhattan, a strong transit system and available development sites, are fueling the feeding frenzy. Developers who’ve already planted their flags see the Bronx as the last bastion for development, while those who haven’t done so already are eager to gain爱上海同城手机版