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Construction & Design

Former Bronx detention center to become live-work campus

The former Spofford Juvenile Detention Center in the Bronx is set to be transformed into a “live-work campus” under a plan approved by the city council last week.

The detention facility will be demolished and the site renamed The Peninsula, a five-acre development with over 700 units of 100 percent affordable housing, ground-floor retail, space for light industrial use, community programming, artists and recreation.

WXY architecture + urban design and Body Lawson Associates will design the five-acre development. The $300 million project will create over 300 permanent jobs and more than 1,000 construction jobs in the Hunts Point neighborhood, according to the city.

The City Council unanimously passed the vote 48-0, marking the final step in the city’s formal land use process, allowing the start of abatement, demolition and remediation of the Spofford Juvenile Detention Center, followed by the start of construction of The Peninsula.

“This project represents the transformative redevelopment of a long dormant site, and my office is excited to see The Peninsula moving forward,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

In October 2016, NYCEDC, HPD, and Council Member Rafael Salamanca, Jr. announced the development team Gilbane Development Company, Hudson Companies and Mutual Housing Association of New York (MHANY) would develop The Peninsula.

The development team is working with long-time community stakeholders and operators, including The Point Community Development Corporation, Urban Health Plan, Sustainable South Bronx, The Knowledge House, Casita Maria, Rocking the Boat, and BronxWorks.

Construction will occur in three phases, with phase I expected to be completed in 2021, phase II to be completed in 2022 and anticipated completion of phase III in 2024.

“The Peninsula is a victory that can be shared by many community residents and local institutions that have struggled over the past two decades to re-purpose the Spofford Juvenile Detention facility, especially Mothers on the Move and The Point CDC,” said Ed Broderick, President and CEO of Gilbane Development Company, managing member of the development team.

“By supporting longstanding local institutions like Urban Health Plan and South Bronx MBE food manufacturers like Il Forno and Bascom Catering, The Peninsula helps ensure that those who have remained in this community through its years of adversity will be able to share in the benefits of its rebirth.”

The campus will be comprised of a five building, three-phase development for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers. It will incubate, support, and sustain homegrown food manufacturing, technology, media production, and commercial and retail uses from growing sectors in the South Bronx economy.

Many of the retail, commercial and industrial tenants are Bronx-based organizations and businesses operating in and around the Hunts Point area, including Bascom Catering, Hunts Point Brewing Company, Lightbox NY film studio and a supermarket.

Nonprofit organizations that will anchor the development include The Point CDC, Space Works and the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD!).

A 16,000 square foot health and wellness center operated by Urban Health Plan, a community sponsor of The Peninsula, will connect residents to quality primary and specialty health care services and employ emerging health-tech professionals.

An early childhood facility will be preserved and expanded with a dedicated playground.

After over 50 years of operation, the City closed Spofford permanently in 2011, moving away from a punishment-based system that removed children from their families, to a rehabilitative model of juvenile justice. The building has since been managed by the Administration of Children’s Services.

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