425 Grand Concourse, Location Of The Former P.S. 31 School Building, Will Be Transformed Into A New, Mixed-Income Affordable Housing Development

Bronx, NY – New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Vicki Been announced today the release of a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) to develop a new mixed-income affordable housing development at 425 Grand Concourse in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx. The development site was previously occupied by the former Public School 31 (P.S. 31) building, which was demolished due to structural issues that posed a safety hazard to the area. The city has taken steps to preserve architectural elements of the original school building and included a requirement in the RFP that proposals incorporate the salvaged elements into the new building’s design. Proposals should provide affordable housing for a mix of incomes, as well as ground-floor retail or a mix of retail and community facility use that will add to the fabric of the neighborhood.

“With a crisis of affordability gripping so many New York families, working across agencies to repurpose vacant or under-used city owned sites and maximizing our resources, is critical to addressing the affordable housing needs of our growing city,” said HPD Commissioner Vicki Been. “This former school which served as a place of learning and growing will once again be a hub for the neighborhood and will provide affordable homes for working-class families as well as new opportunities for retail or community space. My thanks to Borough President Diaz, Council Member Arroyo, and our other stakeholders for their input and support.”

The 425 Grand Concourse site will be developed in under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York: A Five-Borough, 10-Year Housing Plan to finance the creation and preservation of 200,000 affordable units to house New Yorkers with a range of incomes, from the very lowest to those in the middle class. The plan seeks to use affordable housing as an anchor to foster diverse, livable neighborhoods and promote mixed-use, mixed-income communities.

“Though I am heartbroken to see the demolition of P.S. 31, my alma mater, we must make the most of the opportunity that has been created. This site has incredible potential to help renew an area that has      seen considerable interest from all corners in recent months, and is a key component of our plan for a reinvigorated Harlem River waterfront district. We look forward to achieving the high standards of design and community value the former P.S. 31 once realized for The Bronx. As the students who attended school there, including myself, aspired to high levels of achievement, so do we now seek that the site contribute to the high quality of life standards and opportunities for Bronx residents with new state of the art housing complimented with a retail and community facility that continues the tradition service to the community once provided inside the former P.S. 31. I thank HPD for including many of my suggestions for the site in this RFP, and I look forward to examining proposals for this historic space and working with the City to select a future tenant,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

With an increasing demand for affordable housing, the City is working to leverage its vacant and underused properties, when appropriate, to create new opportunities for affordable housing development. The development site is a rectangular parcel located at 425 Grand Concourse in the Mott Haven neighborhood of Bronx Community District 1. Occupying the southern portion of the block with Grand Concourse to the east, Walton Avenue to the west, and East 144th Street to the south, the approximately 30,049 square foot site consists of Block 2346, Lot 1.

In keeping with the mission of Housing New York to expand affordable housing opportunities for the lowest income populations as well as for middle-income households, the RFP seeks a mix of units that will be affordable to households at a variety of income levels. The mixed-income affordable housing development must include a minimum of 15 percent three-bedroom units and a maximum of 15 percent studio units in order to meet the needs of various family sizes. In addition to the residential component, proposals should include ground-floor retail space that provides local services and/or a community facility space that responds to community needs.

The development site was previously occupied by P.S. 31, an ornate Collegiate Gothic building that was prominent within the community. As a result of structural damage that posed a safety hazard to the community, the building was demolished and a plan to repurpose the site as an affordable housing development was put in place. The historic nature of the site calls for a unique, high-quality project that honors the significance of the location and provides affordable housing as well as new, improved amenities for the neighborhood as a whole. As such, the chosen developer will also be responsible for incorporating architectural elements that were salvaged during the demolition of the school (e.g. terra cotta gargoyles, heads, and the engraved P.S. 31 sign) into the new development.

Proposals must achieve certification through the Enterprise Green Communities Program, which is a comprehensive green building framework for affordable housing that provides cost‐effective standards for creating healthy and energy‐efficient homes. Construction of the project must also comply with the
accessibility requirements of all applicable laws including, without limited to the New York City Building
Code, the Fair Housing Act, the Americans for Disability Act, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

The RFP submission period is now open and runs through September 28, 2015. For more information and to obtain a copy of the RFP, please visit HPD’s website at:  http://www1.nyc.gov/site/hpd/developers/rfp-rfq-rfo.page.