Luxury Housing Underway on Arthur Ave, Concerning Some


New luxury housing on Arthur Avenue concerns some students. (Andrea Garcia/The Fordham Ram)

By Theresa Schliep

New luxury housing on Arthur Avenue concerns some students. (Andrea Garcia/The Fordham Ram)
New luxury housing on Arthur Avenue concerns some students. (Andrea Garcia/The Fordham Ram)

Concerns over the changing landscape of the Belmont and greater Bronx area grow as new luxury housing opens on Arthur Avenue. The apartments, called Artu Viale and developed by AB Capstone, are located at 2409 Arthur Avenue.

Some students worry that this development and others like it threaten the inclusivity of the Bronx.

“Branding these apartments as both luxury and for students makes housing inaccessible to members of this community that have been here long before students at Fordham have,” said Jamie Connor, FCRH ’18, a social justice leader with the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice.

The apartments were initially slated to be finished by Fall 2016 but are now delayed to Spring 2017. The rent is expected to be at $850-$1000 per bed, but could increase because of improvements to the facilities.

The building features six floors of apartments with retail space in the first floor as well as a gym, game rooms, terraces and high tech security.

Joseph Zanzuri from AB Capstone said these apartments are simply providing a better product for students.

“This is geared toward students and is a better product,” said Zanzuri. “It is whats there and what is providing a better product.”

Zanzuri said these apartments were similar to flying in a plane.

“We’re just offering you business class and up,” he said. “We’re giving you a cleaner, better environment.”

The apartments are taking the place of an abandoned bakery.

Connor worries the apartments were priced high as to make it exclusively Fordham housing, even though the apartments are not officially affiliated with the university. This, she said, can compromise the culture of the Bronx community in order to accommodate Fordham students.

“I think it is a dangerous precedent that has been set in which rich tenants can sacrifice the integrity and vibrancy of the Bronx community specifically surrounding Fordham at the expense of its members for the sake of development,” said Connor.

Other students feel the movement of more Fordham students to off campus housing exacerbates this exclusivity.

“I think it absolutely is a reflection of the gentrification of the Bronx,” said Madelyn Murphy, FCRH ’17. “It holds racial as well as classist undertones. ‘Luxury student apartments’ is intensely exclusive and is taking up space from other Bronx families, a process Fordham began since its creation and especially since more and more students have been moving off campus.”

The development project will not open until next spring due to delays in construction. Zanzuri said that certain changes had to be made to the building in order to open.

“Some of the structure of the basement had to be changed,” said Zanzuri in a phone interview with The Fordham Ram.

Zanzuri said that AB Capstone communicated with Fordham to brand the apartments as Fordham housing, but the university declined because it wants to see operation for two years before claiming it as university housing.

The developers were interested in working with Fordham housing because that would allow for two additional floors of apartments.

“Builders build for profit,” said Zanzuri.

Zanzuri said AB Capstone plans to build more in the area.

“We’re building a brand, not just a product,” he said. “We’d still be happy to hear [Fordham residential life] out.”

According to Kimberly Russell, director of residential life and assistant dean of students, there are about 3,540 residents on campus and in off campus Fordham affiliated housing. Consequently, about half of the 6,971 undergraduate and graduate students live in Fordham housing, while the other half commute from their off campus housing.