Presentation 2.indd

::: Project Location :::


The site I’ve chosen for my Thesis project is an existing building which is currently 90% vacant and stands on the corner of Third Ave and 150th St. in the Bronx. The building is on top of the highest hill in the area and is highly visible from Third Ave, but it sticks out even more when you are driving south on Westchester Ave (that’s how I first stumbled upon it – driving home from the Design Workshop site).

The Neighborhood here is known as the HUB and has been a significant retail and transportation  . . . well . . . HUB – since the early 1900s. Currently, the Hub serves several bus lines, subway connections, five  major through roads, and about 10 blocks or so of dense storefront retail which stretches along Third Ave.

The building itself is 2883 3rd Ave. BIN #: 2001336. Its approx. 50,000 sf – roughly 65′ by 140′. It is currently 5 stories – with an FAR of 5.34 – far above the allowed FAR of 3.41. It is supposed that this building was once a Vaudeville theater – not uncommon in this area back in the day. It is currently located in a C4-4 Zoning District – this area is one of the most highly developed retail zones in the entire Bronx, and there is a massive amount of new development planned to take place here over the next five years. The ground floor of the building currently contains a T-Mobile storefront, a new Dental ‘Center’ on the Melrose Ave Side, and a Danice clothing store. Above the ground floor retail, however, the building is completely empty and has been for many years.


::: Zoning Map – I’m in a C4-4 (thats an R7 equivalency I beleive) :::

Below are photos from a site visit. You can see how much larger this building is than any of its neighboring structures – although its not over-scaled for the neighborhood as a whole. Many of the other buildings in this neighborhood are also vacant above their ground floor-retail, which suggests a more systemic problem with renting out office-space in this neighborhood – rather than an issues particular to this building.


Obviously there is a great deal of history embedded in the facade of the building, with the often bizarre collage of materials, colors and motifs. The building also has a very unique solar orientation, with a large exposed south-facing facade which doesn’t receive much shading from any of the surrounding buildings and as a result has very small window openings – largely boarded up at this point. In addition, the current building massing casts very large shadows on the most heavily used area – the Third Ave steet. The particular form of the building lot also creates a highly transparent condition on the southeast corner where the sharp angle of the building and the opposing large windows allow you to see right through the building to the sky beyond.

-Building Elevations (Current)

-Floor Plans (based on 1974 plans from Bronx DOB)


-Proposed Residential  Development

-Existing Population Centers

While the building, by virtue of its position, form, solar exposure, materials, structure and high-visibility is perfectly positioned for intervention, the neighbohood of the Hub itself is also situated well to act as a vehicle for futher Urbanization of the region. The area of the South Bronx, after a recent history of un-building, is on the cusp of a masssive re-urbanization and an intensification of the Hub area through direct engagement and intesification of program has the potential to develop a thriving Urban fabric in this area.

According to a report compiled by the NYEDC, In the ‘Hub’ area, The average Household (HH) budget is spent on:

Housing: 20.2%
Tobacco Products: 19.6%
Transportation: 21.9%
Food (home and away): 32.6%
Health Care: 6.8%

“According to the Population Division of the New York City Department of City Planning and DemographicsNow, the population for the Study Area as of 2000 was 20,475. Population in the Study Area is expected to increase roughly 11-14% by 2010, mainly due to a large increase in the housing stock. This makes the Study Area among the fastest growing neighborhoods in New York City”
-NYEDC, Melrose Rising

melrose-HUB_Retail study.pdf

-Map from Melrose Rising by NYCEDC

Interestingly, although it is poised for rapid growth over the next several years (financial implosion of the entire western world not withstanding), like many low-income urban neighborhoods – the HUB’s access to non-processed food is extremely limited at best. According to a Coalition Against Hunger report on the Bronx Communit District 1 (CD1):

“Anecdotal reports suggest that CD1 residents often travel to other parts of the Bronx to shop [due to the] near-total absence of large food retailers within the district boundaries. Unlike the “green” retailers (farmers’ markets and CSAs) that have sprung up to meet the demand for affordable produce, no large grocery chains have been willing to build in this neighborhood, dramatically affecting the quality and price of available food. But while large grocers have shunned the area, restaurants have sprung up on every major street surrounding the densely populated areas. The result of these parallel trends is much more consistent access to food eaten away from home than food eaten at home. Observation also suggests that most restaurants in this area serve unhealthy food.

– Local Grocerys

This suggests that the infrastructure to support the population increase in the HUB area is not yet in place, and that the area will have to develop certain institutions before it will become a viable Urban Center. The HUB, however, does not need to follow exactly the development pattern of other neighborhoods and its character, the result of its particular growth pattern, could become a springboard for new institutional forms. Specifiically, the already existing cultural pattern of eating meals away from home suggests that a new form of market might succeed in this neighborhood. The provision of non-processed and health foods does not neccessarily need to follow the traditional grocery pattern where foods are purchsed at market and then prepared and consumed at the level of the individual family. New forms of communal cooking facilities and collctively organized food storage and preparation areas could be used as structuring elements for a new community center – one where the provision of food serves as the maypole of neighborhood life and the beginnings of the civil society which must neccessarily underpin any successful urban fabric.

-Retail Corridor Facades

-South Bronx Topography




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