NEW YORK CITY-The city has given approval for Boricua Village, a 4.5-acre educational, commercial and residential community in the Melrose section of the Bronx. With groundbreaking expected to occur in September, the 880,000-sf development is said to be the most ambitious community revitalization initiative in recent years by parties involved in the project.

The development, slated for a 2009 completion, is jointly sponsored by locally based Atlantic Development Group LLC and Boricua College, a liberal arts school with locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

With approximately 750 residential units, 50,000 sf of retail space as well as a 14-story building that will house a new Bronx flagship location for Boricua College, the project will be part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 165,000-unit affordable housing plan.

According to the spokesperson for the project, the deal has been in the works since 2005, and though construction costs and other financial information have not yet been finalized, loose ends expect to be complete by groundbreaking.

The site, which now consists of city-owned vacant lots, will include landscaping, benches and public areas as well as its other components. The residential component’s seven buildings will range in height from six to 13 stories and will be comprised of studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. A large portion of the units will be reserved for low-income residents and the rest will be rented for those of moderate income.

“Boricua Village will set a new standard for urban community life by providing Bronx residents with an exciting place to learn, to live and to shop,” says Peter Fine, principal of Atlantic Development Group.

The project is expected to encompass 878,857 gross sf of floor area, with 120,000 sf alone in the college tower. “This urban village will be a thriving bicultural community centered on the value of education,” says Dr. Victor Alicea, president and founder of Boricua College, in a statement.

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