Magnusson Architecture Breaking Ground at 500 East 165th Street
Ground was broken for a new affordable housing project on East 165th Street in the Morrisania section of the Bronx. A challenging site provided award winning firm, Magnusson Architecture and Planning, PC (MAP), with a unique opportunity to design a future neighborhood landmark. Developed by a joint venture of L&M Equity Participants, Nos Quedamos, and Melrose Associates, this distinctive building will rise eight stories on the corner of Third Avenue directly across from the Bronx Stairs.
Funded through New York State’s Division of Housing and Community Renewal, 500 East will generate 128 units of affordable housing for residents earning up to 60% of Area Median Income (AMI). These units will be a mix of studio, 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom apartments and residents will have access to grade level laundry and community rooms which open onto the year yard. Landscaped outdoor spaces at two levels will include a play area and 24 resident parking spaces. Approximately 4,500 SF of commercial space will be located on the first floor along Third Avenue.
“We believe in developing elegant housing, regardless of the income level of future residents,” says Yolanda Gonzalez, Executive Director of Nos Quedamos. “MAP continues to help us meet that goal with their elegant designs.”
MAP’s major design goal for 500 East was to locate the building within the existing neighborhood pattern while creating a dynamic structure that would function as an identifying feature for the neighborhood. To this end, special attention was paid to building details, an uncommon occurrence in affordable housing design.
“The project’s remarkable site—with its Third Avenue frontage, 230-foot façade along 165th Street and steep slope—provided some unique design challenges. MAP met those challenges head on and turned them into opportunities,” said Ron Moelis, Principal at L&M Equity Participants.
The site’s location on Third Avenue, a major Bronx thoroughfare, suggested a dramatic façade and articulated corner entry. MAP designed the entry with a setback to create public open space in front of the building. This also helped to break down the powerful presence of the building as it turns onto a side street. In response to the smaller, more human scale of the 165th Street, MAP was careful to modulate the building’s longest façade as the building height gradually steps down to six stories in height. Meanwhile, the steep slope of the site inspired a partially double height atrium space which allows light to move through the building and affords dramatic views from the street through to a landscaped courtyard
MAP has been designing innovative community-based projects since 1995. Current projects include: several new housing and mixed-use developments throughout the boroughs of New York City, as well as developments in the Hudson Valley, Long Island and New Jersey. Other current and past MAP clients include: Volunteers of America, the Jewish Board of Children and Family Services, Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, Inc, Fifth Avenue Committee, and BFC Construction.