City taking proposals for PS 31 site

The dept. of Housing Preservation and Development has begun taking proposals for mixed use development of the site where the “Castle on the Concourse” once stood.

Now that the city has demolished PS 31, the landmark school on the Grand Concourse, it is looking to build mixed-income apartments and retail or community space on the site.

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development announced it is accepting requests for proposals to build at 425 Grand Concourse, on the corner of 144th Street.

The school, which was designed in the Collegiate Gothic style by architect Charles B.J. Snyder over 100 years ago , had lain dormant since 1994. Over the years, residents had urged the city to restore it, to no avail. PS 31’s fate was sealed in October 2012 when winds from Hurricane Sandy further damaged the building, dislodging stones and bringing them down on the Concourse. No one was injured but city engineers said it was time to abandon hope of renovating the school house fondly known to residents and alumni as the “Castle on the Concourse.”

Proposals should provide affordable housing for a mix of incomes, as well as ground-floor retail or a mix of retail and community facility use. In addition, city officials say they are taking steps to salvage elements of the original school building, such as terra cotta gargoyles, heads, and the engraved PS 31 sign, by requiring developers include them in their proposals.

“With a crisis of affordability gripping so many New York families, working across agencies to repurpose vacant or underused city owned sites and maximizing our resources, is critical to addressing the affordable housing needs of our growing city,” said Vicki Been, the housing department commissioner.

The 30,050 square foot site will be developed under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Housing New York: A Five-Borough, 10-Year Housing Plan,” to finance the creation and preservation of 200,000 affordable units to house New Yorkers with a range of incomes.

“Though I am heartbroken to see the demolition of P.S. 31, my alma mater, we must make the most of the opportunity that has been created,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. This site has incredible potential to help renew an area that has seen considerable interest from all corners in recent months, and is a key component of our plan for a reinvigorated Harlem River waterfront district.”

The new complex will require a minimum of 15 percent three-bedroom units and a maximum of 15 percent studio units in order to meet the needs of various family sizes. In addition, proposals must be certified through the Enterprise Green Communities Program, which aims to create energy‐efficient buildings for low-and-middle income housing.

The RFP submission period will run through September 28. For more information and for a copy of the RFP, go to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s website at: http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/html/developers/rfp.shtml.

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