Located in the Melrose neighborhood of the South Bronx, La Central is a mixed-use affordable housing development offering nearly 1,000 apartments, 30,000 square feet of community space, and 45,000 square feet of retail. Future Green’s role in the project is to develop connective public spaces and vibrant thoroughfares, strengthening street life and creating outdoor destinations for locals and visitors alike. A series of new courtyard plazas spans three city blocks; together with streetscape improvements, rooftop gardens, and a destination skate park they craft a dynamic set of outdoor spaces for relaxing and playing at La Central.
At the heart of the development, a new courtyard between residential buildings becomes a lively public commons with a lush tree canopy that brings the scale of the development down to the human. Park-like recreation areas – including gaming tables, open lawns, interactive, natural playscapes, and sustainable raingardens – form the framework of this central courtyard. The streetscape integrates bio-retention swales with native plantings as both stormwater control and spatial experience, emphasizing the importance of natural processes and scaling the architecture down to the sidewalk. Residents, commuters, shoppers, and neighbors can mingle at weekend green markets organized by the project’s 9,000-square-foot rooftop farm managed by community partner GrowNYC. Residential rooftop gardens also combine active and passive recreation, with extensive green roofs, lounge areas, and simple footpaths weaving in and out. The development, richly connected to the community, also hosts a rooftop telescope for the Bronx High School of Science, a BronxNet television station, and the South Bronx’s first YMCA.