Governor Cuomo Announces Bronx Civic Center as $10 Million New York City Region Winner of Second-Round Downtown Revitalization Initiative
State to Collaborate With New York City Regional Economic Development Council to Revitalize the Bronx Civic Center Downtown Neighborhood
Part of Governor's Comprehensive Approach to Transform Communities Into Vibrant Neighborhoods and Boost Local Economies
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the Bronx Civic Center neighborhood in the South Bronx will receive $10 million in funding and investments as the New York City winner of the second round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. As in the first round of the DRI, one downtown from each of the state's 10 regional economic development regions will be selected as that region's DRI winner and will benefit from $10 million in state investment to revitalize the area, marking another overall state goal to target $100 million in funding and investments to help communities identify catalytic downtown projects to boost the local economy.
"Downtown revitalization is critical to strengthening our communities, driving business growth, and attracting and retaining the next generation of leaders in New York," Governor Cuomo said. "These investments in South Bronx will establish a solid foundation for continued growth throughout the region and provide stronger, more viable communities for generations to come."
The Bronx Civic Center neighborhood includes the area bounded by 144th Street on the south, 165th Street on the north, the Harlem River on the west and St. Ann's Avenue/East-Third Avenue on the east. Weighing the eight criteria below, the New York City Regional Economic Development Council reviewed the South Bronx's proposal for downtown revitalization, together with the proposals from other participant communities from the New York City region, before recommending the Bronx Civic Center neighborhood as its nominee for winner:
The downtown should be compact, with well-defined boundaries;
The municipality, or the downtown's catchment area, should be of sufficient size to support a vibrant, year-round downtown;
The downtown is able to capitalize on prior or catalyze future private and public investment in the neighborhood and its surrounding areas;
There should be recent or impending job growth within, or in close proximity to the downtown that can attract workers to the downtown, support redevelopment and make growth sustainable;
The downtown must be an attractive and livable community for diverse populations of all ages, including existing residents, millennials and skilled workers;
The municipality should already embrace or have the ability to create and implement policies that increase livability and quality of life, including the use of local land banks, modern zoning codes and parking standards, complete streets plans, energy efficient projects, green jobs, and transit-oriented development;
The municipality should have conducted an open and robust community engagement process resulting in a vision for downtown revitalization and a preliminary list of projects and initiatives that may be included in a DRI strategic investment plan; and
The municipality has identified transformative projects that will be ready for implementation with an infusion of DRI funds within the first one to two years.
The Bronx Civic Center neighborhood second-round DRI win entitles the area to benefit from $10 million in state funding and investments that will revitalize the area and generate new opportunities for long-term growth. The Bronx Civic Center neighborhood in the South Bronx now joins Jamaica, Queens, which was the New York City region's winner in the first DRI round.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said, "These investments in South Bronx will establish a solid foundation for continued growth throughout the region and provide stronger, more viable communities for generations to come."
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said, "This begins a new chapter in the Bronx Civic Center area's economic success story. The Downtown Revitalization Initiative award will infuse one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the country with new energy, bolstering connectivity between neighborhoods, job creation and improved quality of life. I look forward to seeing this vibrant area of the Bronx thrive."
ESD President, CEO, and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "With its rich diversity, emerging markets, and strong community-driven development, the South Bronx is prime for vibrant, local economic growth and this Downtown Revitalization Initiative will catalyze that momentum and bring much-needed resources to the South Bronx."
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, "As a lifelong resident of this vibrant community, I know firsthand that the Bronx is one of the New York's greatest treasures. After years of championing transformative investments, I am excited to see the changes and opportunities that we have been able to provide for our families and visitors. Today, with this downtown revitalization award we will usher in the next wave of growth that will make the Bronx a better home and destination for all to enjoy."
Assemblyman Marcos A. Crespo said, "This critical funding will help the economic renaissance that this region has seen to new heights. By investing in our neighborhoods, we will help push our borough's commerce and economic growth to new levels. I thank Governor Cuomo for being a staunch ally to New Yorkers and for investing in our communities, helping them to thrive for years to come."
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said, "The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is designed to transform traditional downtown neighborhoods into even more vibrant communities. This program will help shape the future of the South Bronx, and make the communities surrounding this institution and others even greater places to live, work and raise families. With this funding, the South Bronx will have the opportunity to reach its full potential using community-based efforts to strengthen our neighborhoods. My office greatly appreciates Governor Cuomo's continued commitment to The Bronx, and I look forward to working with local stakeholders to implement this DRI."
Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson, "Thanks to the Governor's Downtown Revitalization Initiative and the dedication of Bronx leaders who helped secure this funding, our neighborhoods will receive the attention and investments they need to develop and thrive. This $10 million award will help our community provide stronger neighborhoods and a more robust economy for the next generation."
Michael Brady, Executive Director, Third Avenue Business Improvement District / former Master Planner, South Bronx, said, "Working collaboratively to revitalize our downtowns is the cornerstone of forward thinking economic development policy. The Governor's initiative, combined with the work of local Bronx officials and South Bronx community based organizations, like the Third Avenue Business Improvement District, strengthens the economic fabric of our neighborhoods and provides an entry point for small businesses to thrive. The Third Avenue District is the heart of the South Bronx commercial corridor and is delighted to have the opportunity to work hand in hand with State and Bronx leaders to transform the Bronx's oldest commercial district."
Bronx Civic Center
The South Bronx is one of New York City's most rapidly evolving areas. Neighborhoods like Mott Haven, Concourse Village, Melrose and Morrisania have undergone dramatic, grassroots and community driven transformation. The South Bronx is booming with private and public investments in affordable housing, cultural facilities, retail and other sectors. Many local policies enabled this growth of activity, such as the South Bronx Initiative and Melrose Retail Strategy, and the resultant Lower Concourse rezoning. The Downtown Revitalization Initiative will harness this energy by focusing on the Bronx Civic Center area, the heart of the Bronx that ties these diverse neighborhoods like the Hub and 149th Street and the Grand Concourse by Hostos Community College together. The strategic investment plan and DRI investment will spark waves of additional economic activity, uplift a lower-income community, and demonstrate best practices in protecting the economically vulnerable from residential displacement.
A Strategic Investment Plan to revitalize the Bronx Civic Center will now be developed with up to $300,000 in planning funds from the $10 million DRI grant. A Local Planning Committee made up of municipal representatives, community leaders, and other stakeholders will lead the plan development process, supported by a team of private sector experts and state planners. The Strategic Investment Plan for the Bronx Civic Center will examine local assets and opportunities and identify economic development, transportation, housing, and community projects that align with the community's vision for downtown revitalization and that are poised for implementation. The Bronx Civic Center Strategic Investment Plan, as well as the plans developed by the other nine DRI winners, will guide the investment of DRI grant funds in revitalization projects that will advance the community's vision for its downtown and that can leverage and expand upon the state's $10 million investment. Plans for DRI's second round will be complete in early 2018.