2. Rezoning of the Lower Concourse into Waterfront District

lower concourse-waterfront-park-bronx-new york city-untapped cities-brennan ortizRendering of waterfront in South Bronx along the Harlem River

In a city of rivers, it is easy to see why the majority of boroughs have invested in waterfront parks. These sites typically feature public space and recreational facilities, high-end housing developments, and encourage the introduction of amenities in nearby neighborhoods. The addition of these waterfronts has proved a huge catalyst in economic growth, and now the Bronx will have a piece of this pie.

During his recent State of The Borough Speech, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. announced his ambitions to convert the stretch of Exterior Street in the Lower Concourse area between 138th and 149th streets into a mixed-use waterfront district highlighting a prime waterfront destination à la Brooklyn Bridge Park that is to connect to Mill Pond Park.

lower concourse-waterfront-park-rendering-bronx-new york city-untapped cities-brennan ortizArtist rendering of South Bronx waterfront esplanade and properties

The vision has been designed in part by a recent planning report released by the non-profit South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation or SoBro, who revealed that the area can accommodate more than 2,000 units of housing, 1.5 million square feet of commercial space, and 500,000 square feet of community facility space, public parks, and waterfront access.

The project is still in its very early stages. Waterfront access has been a long denied asset for the Bronx, but taking into account the attention this proposal has received, it’s safe to say we may soon see the Bronx hold its own. Similarly, the Department of City Planning has released a report presenting the conversion of The Bronx’s Sheridan Expressway into a pedestrian friendly boulevard that will provide waterfront access to The Bronx River, and support retail growth along with housing and park space.