RFP: Mixed-use redevelopment of site next to New York Botanical Garden

The New York Botanical Garden is getting in on the action in the Bronx, having issued a request for proposals for a “major” mixed-use development site located one block from the Botanical Garden (which owns the acre-plus property) entrance.

The site can accommodate roughly 300 residential units, a 125-room hotel and around 12,000 square feet of retail.

The proposed development is less than a block from the Botanical Garden station on MetroNorth’s Harlem Line, which provides access to Grand Central Terminal and Midtown Manhattan in about 20 minutes. It is also a short walk from stops on the B, D, and 4 subway lines, and several New York City Transit bus lines serve the area. This mixed-use proposal is a direct result of at least four years of work with community stakeholders, including the rezoning of an 80-block area initiated by Community Board 7 and passed unanimously by the New York City Council in 2011 after public review. The previous zoning had long restricted Webster Avenue to heavy commercial uses, but the 2011 rezoning set the stage for new types of development, including residential, retail, and hotel projects.

Following the rezoning, a second public-planning process was facilitated by the New York City Economic Development Corporation, which culminated in the community’s Webster Avenue Vision Plan. One of the Plan’s goals was “transforming Webster Avenue into a vibrant mixed-use district.” Two recommendations in the Plan guided the Garden’s RFP: employing mixed-use development opportunities as catalysts for further economic development and promoting mixed-income housing in the Webster Avenue corridor.

Because of this planning process, the Garden has received significant support from the Community Board and elected officials representing the Bronx. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said: “NYBG has been an anchor in the Bronx for 125 years, so it is no surprise to me that with this request for proposals, the Garden is taking the lead on attracting catalytic and transformative development at this strategic intersection in the Bronx. As one of the many stakeholders participating in the Vision Plan for Webster Avenue, I am particularly excited for the day when guests from across the globe and from around the corner have another hotel choice in the Bronx, across from our very own Garden of Eden.

New York City Councilmember Ritchie Torres, whose district includes the Garden, said: “I applaud and support NYBG as it takes this important next step forward to advance the Webster Avenue Vision Plan and develop this key corner in my Council District. The jobs, housing, and vibrancy that this mixed-use project will bring to the Webster Avenue corridor have been a long time in the planning, and I look forward to the day when the first shovel hits the ground.

Developers have until 5 p.m. (Eastern) on March 1, 2016 to submit proposals.

See full article & photo credit.

See official RFP press release (PDF).

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