Multimillion-Dollar Redevelopment Planned for Former Bronx Juvenile Detention Center

A former juvenile detention facility in the Bronx is being transformed into a brand-new housing, commercial and recreational development. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.

The gates are closing at the notorious Spofford Juvenile Detention Center in the south Bronx.

Thursday, the city announced plans to demolish and replace Spofford with The Penninsula, a complex of five buildings and nearly 1 million square feet of space, including 740 units of housing, all of them considered affordable to area residents.

"Low-income families will have access to those apartments, but also in Hunts Point, we have working-class families," said City Councilman Rafael Salamanca of The Bronx. "They, too, should have access to these apartments."

A public plaza, retail and community space is also included.

"We will be advancing a project that will be a vibrant, thriving, live-work, mix-use community," said Maria Torres-Springer, president of NYCEDC.

Hunts Point residents and community based organizations played a vital role in helping to shape the $300 million project, working closely with the developer, Gilbane Inc., and its architects..

"We said, This is what we want. This is how we see it. That's too much. This is too high. Make this work. And they really did come back to us each time with a plan that we felt was suitable," said Maria Torres, co-founder and president of the Point Community Development Corporation.

This development has been a long time coming. Plagued by violence and poor living conditions, Spofford operated for more than 50 years before the city finally shut it down as a jail for juveniles five years ago.

Since the building closed on March 11, 2011, it has stood in disrepair, with paint chipping from the walls and ceilings. It is advised that you wear safety masks to walk through the building.

If all goes as planned, this building will be knocked down in 2018. The development will unfold in three phases and is supposed to be completed in 2024.

The city says the project will create 177 permanent and more than 1,600 temporary construction jobs.

"This is the type of project that will generate jobs and opportunities for the people of the Bronx," Torres-Springer said.

The project will enter the city's public review process, giving the community a chance to weigh in before the City Council votes on it.

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