Brit Liggett

Melrose Commons Earns First LEED Neighborhood Honors in NYC

by , 03/22/10

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In 1994 an Urban Renewal Plan threatened to price out the residents of Melrose Commons in the South Bronx. In an effort to keep their neighborhood, the residents formed a community group aptly named Nos Quedamos — which in Spanish means, “We Stay.” The group, through persistence, successfully coerced the city into including housing that was within their price range and then made sure that the city built their new neighborhood as efficiently as possible. Melrose Commons is now the first neighborhood in New York State to receive LEED Stage II Silver Certification for Neighborhood Development by the U.S. Green Building Council.

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When the Urban Renewal Project began the 7,000 residents of Melrose Commons had an average annual income of $12,000 which was too low for the middle income and mixed-use housing that the city had planned. The founder of Nos Quedamos was the late Yolanda Garcia. She decided the residents should stand up for themselves instead of quietly being displaced. The construction that followed has grown into a 35-block neighborhood that is full of affordable sustainable housing. The neighborhood even comes complete with windmill-topped buildings that generate electricity for residents.

Magnusson Architecture and Planning’s green arm, MAP Green, planned and executed the developments along with the developer Melrose Associates. Christine Hunter, a principal at MAP Green noted that they, “felt strongly that Melrose Commons should be certified because, from the start, the neighborhood-based team was committed to pedestrian-oriented mixed-use, mixed-income development, maintaining open space and incorporating sustainable design and construction techniques.”

+ Magnusson Architecture and Planning

Via Green Buildings NYC

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5 Comments

  1. AKtheJefe April 18, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Having seen the architectural drawings, there’s quite a few trees planned for this job, like at least 34 scattered about the site.

  2. kristiantheconqueror March 29, 2010 at 3:17 am

    Nice to see that someone else saw the same thing I did; there are almost no trees here. It’ll be a helluva lot nicer once they fix that problem, and it’ll be more environmentally friendly too, as the trees will reduce the heat island effect and keep the area much cooler in the summer. Also, for a nice change the buildings actually look decently appealing. A bit too modern minimalist for my liking, but decent none the less. the classic style on most of them will age very well.

  3. dblarsen March 23, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    In the opening image it appears that there are tree pits along the curb line and landscape planters against each building front that, once filled, should soften up the development and make it feel less desolate. Overall I think is looks pretty good, I don’t personally love the architectual style but know many who would love it. I’d like to see what the mixed-use areas are like (let alone the finished product) before I really critique the project does deserve credit for not displacing the low-income residents and becoming the first LEED-ND developement in New York State! Hopefully many more will come…

  4. r_eye_an March 23, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Hmmmm LEED Silver, but not a tree in sight. I think something somewhere is broken in the world of green building standards if a desolate development like this can get certified. I think the architect spent too much time coming up with hip catch phrases, ie: neighborhood-based team, pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use, mixed-income, maintaining open space, incorporating sustainable design and construction techniques.

    Sorry “neighborhood-based team,” loos like a FAIL to me.

  5. best toaster March 23, 2010 at 7:07 am

    This is awesome news. What are the windmills for? Sorry if it seems like an ignorant question.

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