WXY mixed-use development with jobs, training, affordable homes to transform Bronx neighborhood

by Brianna Crandall — March 13, 2017 — Can a city create instant communities with jobs, training, education and hundreds of affordable apartments? The architects and planners at WXY architecture + urban design are ready to prove it is possible. The firm has been selected to design a major new mixed-use development in New York City, recently unveiled by local agencies, that is expected to transform the neighborhood and bring changes to the workplace culture.

Called The Peninsula, the five-acre project is being designed by WXY in conjunction with Body Lawson Associates (BLA) for their client group led by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). The project will integrate retail, light industrial, and recreational space with 100% affordable housing in the Hunts Point neighborhood of the Bronx. Located on the grounds of the former Spofford Juvenile Detention Center, The Peninsula is being developed by Gilbane Development Company, Hudson Companies and Mutual Housing Association of New York (MHANY).

WXY/BLA conceptual rendering for mixed-use development

WXY/BLA conceptual rendering for Hunts Point mixed-use development in the Bronx

This announcement also comes on the heels of a recent groundbreaking for WXY’s Bronx Commons, a 426,000-square-foot, 305-unit affordable housing and mixed-use development in the nearby Melrose neighborhood, designed in collaboration with Danois Architects and Local Projects.

According to Claire Weisz, principal at WXY, The Peninsula in Hunts Point intends to create a community campus for both living and working, and is designed “as a hub that ties together a mix of activities — commercial, manufacturing and residential — around a central plaza, fostering interaction between residents, visitors, and the Hunts Point community.”

The Peninsula’s $300 million, multi-phase rollout involves a number of community stakeholders like The Point Community Development Corporation, Urban Health Plan, Sustainable South Bronx, The Knowledge House, Casita Maria, Rocking the Boat, and BronxWorks. Development of The Peninsula will occur in three phases, with Phase I to be completed in 2021, Phase II to be completed in 2022, and anticipated completion of Phase III in 2024. According to NYCEDC, the completed project will create approximately:

  • 740 units of 100% affordable housing
  • 52,000 square feet of open/recreational space, including a new public plaza
  • 49,000 square feet of light industrial space
  • 48,000 square feet of community facility space (15,000 sq. ft artist workspace anticipated)
  • 21,000 square feet of ground floor retail/commercial space

Many of the anticipated retail, commercial and industrial tenants are Bronx-based organizations, including Hunts Point Brewing Company, Il Forno Bakery, and Lightbox NY film studio. The Peninsula will also feature a supermarket tenant, a business incubator, job training facilities, school space, and a community health and wellness center. The mixed-use development is expected to create 177 permanent jobs and more than 1,600 temporary construction jobs.

NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer commented:

We are proud to be transforming this notorious site into a thriving mixed-use campus and true community asset. With over 700 affordable apartments, space for community organizations and light manufacturing space, The Peninsula will create homes and job opportunities that benefit the people of the South Bronx.

Weisz agrees, noting that the project’s mix of services and live-work campus design is part of “a vision that benefits both the businesses and the community they serve through the creation of neighborhoods that are mixed-use, that generate jobs, and that connect people through public space.”

Recently named state “Firm of the Year” by the AIA, WXY architecture + urban design has gained national recognition for urban and industrial redevelopment projects, with such commissions as the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Detroit’s Eastern Market.