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NEW YORK CITY-Mayor Rudy Giuliani today named Starrett Corp. as the developer of a major retail and office complex to be located at the Bronxchester Urban Renewal Sites.

Bronx sites 6, 7A and 7B, comprising an aggregate 250,000 sf, are bounded by 149th Street, Brook and Bergen avenues and divided by Westchester Avenue. Starrett will purchase the land for an undisclosed sum and build 314,000 sf of office space, a 3,000-sf community center and 171,850 sf of retail space. Included in the retail component is a 51,500-sf supermarket. Two parking lots will provide space for 335 vehicles. Starrett affiliate HRH Construction LLC will serve as construction manager on the project.

Groundbreaking on the $98.2-million project is scheduled for May 2003. Construction is expected to take roughly 18 months to complete. City officials say the development will create 850 construction jobs and 1,400 permanent jobs.

According to Starrett vice president Alan S. Cohen, while interest in the project is high, the prospect of improving the community has been a major motivating factor in getting it off the ground. “I’m enthused by this opportunity and excited that we’re going to improve this area,” Cohen tells GlobeSt.com. “Quality of life issues are very important to Starrett. We’re going to complement the area. We’re committed to the neighborhood.

Though there is “no specific tenant as of yet, there have been a tremendous amount of calls” regarding the retail component of the complex, Cohen says. “We’ve had responses from many ‘name’ retailers as well as smaller, boutique retailers. We believe that a major tenant will come in to be an anchor,” Cohen says.

“The commercial part is also very exciting,” Cohen says. “That tenant base could be anything from financial institutions to advertising agencies.” Floor plates could be as large as 40,000 to 50,000 sf, he adds.

Today’s announcement marks the second major Bronx project recently awarded to a developer by the Economic Development Corp., the city’s real estate disposal and development agency. In September, Manhattan-based developer the Related Cos. LP won the bid to develop Bronxchester Site 12, a massive parcel of vacant city-owned land that stretches along three blocks of Third Avenue between 153rd and 156th streets.

“This is another important initiative of the City to bring economic development to the Bronx,” said EDC President Michael G. Carey. “When complete these two projects will create more than 2,000 permanent jobs for Bronx residents. They will also help to revitalize one of the most critical commercial corridors in the Bronx.”

Related’s proposal calls for 164,300 sf of retail space on two levels, possibly anchored by a Kmart store, and a third level comprising 61,700 sf of office space. The complex would be built on a currently vacant parcel located on Third Avenue between 153rd and 156th streets. A 273-space existing parking garage on an adjacent lot would be renovated as part of the project, dubbed Bronxchester Site 12. The proposed site is just north of the Bronx commercial district known as the Hub.

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