HISTORICAL CONTEXT, THE PROBLEM TODAY, AND A PRIME OPPORTUNITY
Neighborhood conditions in Melrose declined in the 1960s and 70s due to redlining and unprecedented disinvestment by the financial industry and government. More broadly, this was a shift of investment away from neighborhoods of color that resulted in both increased racial and ethnic segregation and the devaluation of properties in those areas which included Melrose.
Residents of Melrose have since overcome the economic abandonment of government and the private sector and transformed their neighborhood into one that is grounded in economic self-determination and community empowerment. More recently, the rapid increase of real estate investment in the South Bronx has left community members concerned about the changes coming to their neighborhood and the economic and environmental justice threats these changes may bring. Conversely, as Nos Quedamos considers the possibilities of the SBxLCRT, an opportunity exists for the community to truly control and harness assets and resources in the Melrose Commons neighborhood to forward collective
self-determination for its residents.
The SBxLCRT is urgently needed in Melrose Commons, given the intensifying gentrification and market-rate development pressures that the community continues to face. In addition, Nos Quedamos has the opportunity to financially reposition and restructure several of their current buildings that are approaching Year-15 Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) investor exits. LIHTC is federally funded, tax-exempt incentive that can be used for a down payment or to offset a borrower’s tax payments. The SBxLCRT can provide the opportunity for Nos Quedamos to place existing assets under community control, with affordability permanently guaranteed, and pursue acquisition of new buildings in the area to be incorporated as part of the CLT.
As a community-based development corporation, Nos Quedamos views this approach as imperative for advancing and expanding community engagement in the neighborhood’s future, and to ensure that all future developments prioritize deep affordability.
Related Reference Content:
Nos Quedamos, with technical assistance from Hester Street (HST) and support from the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation (MOER) and the NYC Community Land Initiative (NYCCLT), studied the area of Melrose Commons through the lens of a CLT model. This report is the culmination of that work and outlines the mission and development principles for the recently created South Bronx Land and Community Resource Trust (SBxLCRT). It also considers opportunities for creating vital housing, energy, and communication infrastructure in Melrose Commons. Download (PDF).