A proposal to bring a handful of buildings, two of which would be 8 stories tall, to a low-density neighborhood in Throggs Neck faced fierce opposition even before beginning the community council review process.
But the developers are not giving up.
Throggs Neck Associates LLC, is requesting a zoning map and text changes to develop four sites on Bruckner Boulevard, including the Super Foodtown grocery store at 2945-65 Bruckner Blvd. The project would bring 339 apartments, 94 of which would be designated as affordable housing.
Three commercial and residential buildings are proposed for the eastern part of the project. An 8-story building would be located along Crosby Avenue where Super Foodtown, a property owned by Peter and Joe Bivona, is located.
Peter Bivona said in an interview with The Bronx Times that the brothers plan to keep a supermarket on the site, create housing for seniors and veterans, and potentially the Bronx’s first women’s health clinic.
“It will be a first-class building…our goal is to facilitate community first,” he said.
Another 8-story building would be located across from Old St. Raymonds Cemetery across East Tremont Avenue on vacant property owned by Marco and Franco Marciano. The buildings would be the tallest around, but Sam Goldstein, a representative for Marino PR developers, argued that the site was “more on the periphery” of the single-family home community.
A 5-story building would be constructed between the two tallest buildings, on property owned by Peter Zuccarello, James Cervino and Jack Caliendo, which currently has a batting cage and empty commercial space.
A fourth, 3-storey, residential-only building is proposed on a vacant site to the west on the Bruckner, also owned by the Marcianos.
Peter Bivona pointed out that the owners are not “strangers who come to the neighborhood”.
“We are insiders,” he said. “We are part of the Throggs Neck community.”
There would be approximately 300 parking spaces at the four sites.
If approved, however, the project would undo efforts to slow growth in the area due to the rezoning of Throggs Neck in 2004, which designated Community District 10 a Low density growth management area.
Community Board 10 intends to protect its low-density zoning, CB10 district manager Matthew Cruz said in an interview with The Bronx Times.
“It’s a very tough climb,” Cruz said of the proposed project. “You provide density in a community where there is none. Do I know if [the developers] do you feel confident about this app? I couldn’t tell you. But they have come up against strong opposition and they continue to present this candidacy.
A group of residents raised more than $29,000 to a legal team to oppose the project on a GoFundMe created in September. one online petition collected nearly 5,000 signatures. Local councilwoman Marjorie Velázquez opposes the project. In early August, residents demonstrated at the Super Foodtown site.
Peter Bivona said in a statement to The Bronx Times that his team has heard “some opposition” and they believe “some of it stems from misinformation or uncertainty about what the project entails and what is proposed”.
He argued that the project would support the local economy and address an urgent need for housing while “activating and enlivening several underutilized or entirely inactive spaces”.
Attempts to interview Velázquez for this article were unsuccessful, but his team doubled down on their opposition in a statement to the Bronx Times. “The council member has repeatedly said she is against the project as it stands,” her office said. “Just as his predecessor, former council member Jimmy Vacca, championed the Waterbury-Lasalle communities a decade ago, council member Velázquez will continue discussions with the community on any development and will consider infrastructure necessary before considering any proposed project, including needed education, transportation or public works projects.
City council spokespersons did not respond to requests for comment on how much influence Velázquez’s opinion might have on other members’ votes — often called council deference.
The developers will present at CB10 at 7:30 p.m. on April 19 at St. Benedict’s Father Albert Hall at 2968 Bruckner Blvd. Then, a public hearing in May will follow.
State Senator Alessandra Biaggi, whose district encompasses the site, could not be reached at press time.
Contact Aliya Schneider at [email protected] or (718) 260-4597. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes.