Via Verde Is More Than an Architectural Marvel—It’s a Nice Place to Live, Too

Would you live here? (Dattner/Grimshaw)

We know from Michael Kimmelman’s premiere review in The Times that Via Verde, the affordable housing complex in the South Bronx, is just about the best thing since humans decided to stop living in caves. It turns out it is not just a new model for mixed-income housing, and a pretty one at that, but also a great place to live.

Via Verde has been a hit with residents, too, The Journal reports. Developed by Phipps Houses and Jonathan Rose and designed by Dattner Architects and Grimshaw, cascading silver, sustainable complex has been filling up fast.

The complex includes 151 low-income rentals ranging from $730 to $1,090 a month, and 71 co-ops marketed for $135,000 to $193,000. The rental units were taken during a lottery process that brought in 7,000 applications, and 35 of the co-ops have sold.

The arrival of dozens of middle-class professionals will mark a further shift for the South Bronx, an area once so besieged by drug abuse, violence and crime that its name was synonymous with urban blight. Since 2000, more than 2,800 affordable residential units have been built in the neighborhood.

Not everyone is happy about the new arrivals, though.

“I’ve watched the Bronx burn and left for abandoned and now being slowly rebuilt,” said Mark Naison, a professor of African-American studies and history at Fordham University. “There are a lot of great things going on here, but my concerns are…that affordable is not affordable for many existing residents.”

That concern was echoed by locals walking by Via Verde on a recent afternoon.

Brian Allen, 38, an unemployed construction worker, said he’s glad the projects are filling vacant lots and providing housing. “But it’s only good if the housing you’re building is affordable for that area. And $140,000 for two bedrooms? Definitely not in this neighborhood,” he said.

Looks like Mr. Kimmelman is not the only architecture critic around these parts.

Via Verde Is More Than an Architectural Marvel—It’s a Nice Place to Live, Too