NEW YORK CITY—Buoyed by a strong residential development market, new construction starts in the Bronx are expected to top $2 billion this year, according to a report released today by the New York Building Congress.
The report notes that while several new large public works projects have came on line this year, the residential housing sector in the borough has accounted for more than 50% of the construction starts in the first nine months of this year.
The report—“Construction Outlook Update: Bronx Construction Starts”— notes that for the first nine months of this year, the Bronx represented 5% of the total value of construction starts for New York City. This is a slight decrease from the 7% registered in 2016. In 2015, the Bronx accounted for 5% and in 2014 it represented 4% of all new construction starts in the city based on construction start data provided by Dodge Data & Analytics.
“The Bronx is experiencing positive momentum and benefitting from continued strong investment from both the public and private sectors,” says Building Congress President and CEO Carlo A. Scissura. “With the value of annual construction starts more than doubling since the beginning of this decade, it’s obvious that the development community now views the Bronx in a whole new light. And I would be surprised if that percentage doesn’t continue to rise in the coming years.”
The largest Bronx project start by value in the first nine months of 2017 was the $232-million New York State Department of Transportation-funded project to replace Unionport Bridge, which carries the Bruckner Expressway across Westchester Creek. The second largest project was a new 12-story, 305-unit, mixed-use project valued at $133 million, which is being developed by the City’s Housing Preservation & Development in partnership with the Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corp. and BFC Partners.
A major project in the pipeline in the borough is Bronx Point in the South Bronx, which at full build-out will include up to 1,045 housing units and a hip-hop museum.
Over the past three years, nine of the top projects in the Bronx have come from the public sector, including the Bruckner Expressway project and a $213-million reconstruction project of the toll plaza on the Bronx side of the RFK Bridge in 2015.
Renovations and alterations to PS 46, PS 14 and PS 19 were the largest of the institutional projects, so far this year with each project topping $50 million in value, the New York Building Congress reports.
The residential sector continues to drive the Bronx construction market through the first three quarters of 2017, accounting for 53% of the value of all construction projects in the borough, followed by public works (20%), institutions (15%) and commercial properties (11%).
Through the first nine months of this year, 3,190 residential units were initiated in the Bronx. This pace will narrowly surpass 2015’s total of 4,240 units, which was the current high point of this decade, according to the New York Building Congress.
“The Bronx possesses the most opportunities for new residential development, and the ability to produce new housing for residents at all income levels,” says Scissura. “As the de Blasio administration further ramps up its affordable housing program and as private developers increasingly look to the north, the future looks bright for the Bronx.”
The Bronx’s nine-month permits total represents about 17% of the housing units started throughout the city in 2017, which is in keeping with 2016, when 3,918 of the 23,694 housing units emanated from the Bronx. These 2016 and 2017 Bronx totals are an improvement from the period between 2011 and 2015, when the percentage of units initiated in the Bronx ranged from 8% to 11%.
In the first three quarters of 2017, the Bronx saw the construction of 1,515 units of affordable housing initiated, while 1,150 units were rehabbed during the same nine-month period.
The residential sector has been a key driver in the Bronx for some time, representing 52% of the value of all construction projects initiated in the borough between 2015 and the first three quarters of 2017. Major projects have included a $104-million, 256-unit, mixed-use project in East Tremont and a $100-million, 314-unit, mixed-use project in the Belmont section of the Bronx.
Over the same period, the institutional sector accounted for 19% followed by public works with 17% and commercial buildings with a 9% market share. The remaining 3% was made up of various utilities and manufacturing projects.