Construction has begun on a new kind of apartment building in the Bronx. It could be called housing that's good for your health. Borough reporter Erin Clarke has that story.
A new building is rising on East 172nd Street. An apartment building, but it will not just be a place to live.
"The focus in the building is to help people live healthier lives," said Steve Coe, Community Access CEO.
111 172nd Street will include amenities to improve the health of tenants. Including a community garden, where residents will grow produce — and a community kitchen — where they will learn how to turn that food into healthy meals. There will be an outdoor circuit training gym and a bike share program. And the building's design will encourage residents to use the stairs.
"We really see food and physical activity as a pathway to connection here at community access," said Rica Bryan, Health and Wellness coordinator at Community Access.
This is the seventh project developed in the Bronx by Community Access, a social services agency. The organization also operates Gouverneur Court on the Lower East Side in Manhattan. Its features include bike sharing and a program helping tenants adopt and care for pets.
"We have an entire office staff of people who help us individually do all the things we need to do to live productive lives," said Rochelle Rosa a resident at Gouverneur Court.
"Pet access understands how people who have mental impairments and difficulties what having a pet does and brings joys and happiness and recovery into their lives and that's how they helped me," said Rosa.
The building on 172nd Street will actually be the first to incorporate all services and programs offered in other community access buildings.
"It's really a culmination of everything we've learned over the past 40 years," said Community Access CEO Steve Coe.
The city and state are partially funding the $52 million project. They also will provide rental subsidies for 60 units, which will be exclusively for people with mental illness. The remaining 66 units will be classified as affordable housing available to anyone meeting income guidelines.
"It is important for us to make sure that people who are from this neighborhood and born in this neighborhood can afford to stay here," said Commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal RuthAnne Visnauskas. "As well as, the new people who need opportunity for low income housing."
Community Access anticipates construction will be completed in 18 months.