Melrose V

The Melrose Commons V project, located in South Bronx, NY, is a LEED Platinum certified development and winner of the 2009 Precast Concrete Institute (PCI) Award for Best Sustainable Project. It is the first total precast, affordable housing development in New York State to receive a Platinum rating in LEED for Homes. This five-story, 71,640 square foot affordable housing development, constructed with a total precast concrete building system, includes 63 units, ranging from 620 square-foot one-bedrooms to 1,355-square-foot three-bedrooms. Its green features include rooftop wind turbines, a basement co-generation system, recycled construction products and 100% ENERGY STAR appliances. The entire Melrose Commons project was financed by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development through the New York City Partnership. It is the goal of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development's Partnership for Advanced Technology in Housing (PATH) to accelerate the development and use of technologies that radically improve the quality, durability, energy-efficiency, environmental performance and affordability of America's housing market, and precast concrete was the perfect solution for Melrose.

Total Precast Structure
The building superstructure is constructed entirely of precast concrete components, utilizing load bearing exterior wall panels which form an elegant brick and stone façade, and an interior load bearing corridor wall. The floors and roof utilize 8" hollowcore plank and the stairwells, stairs, landings, roof penthouses and elevator shaft are all precast concrete. The use of a precast concrete building system was beneficial in respect to constructability, energy-efficiency and marketability. Components are manufactured offsite in factory-controlled conditions to exact specifications, and are delivered to the site when ready for erection. This allows for quality control, accelerated construction and strict adherence to scheduling - despite weather conditions and tight urban location challenges. This in turn made financing the project much easier by reducing carrying charges and the opportunity for theft or vandalism, and allowed for faster completion and occupancy.

Sustainability and Innovation
The use of precast also helped achieve LEED Platinum in several ways: the precast concrete components qualify as local materials; they make use of recycled materials; they cause less site disruption over a shorter amount of time (5 weeks for the Melrose 5 precast installation phase); they produce less construction waste, and will endure for many decades. The precast building system is more thermally efficient, which reduces the size and cost of HVAC equipment, as well as long term energy use. Innovative ideas included the use of the hollowcore plank as part of the ventilation system for the kitchens and bathrooms of each apartment. The design requires less ductwork to the roof and maximizes the capabilities of the precast hollowcore floor assembly, and the vents blend into the patterned thin brick exterior, reducing the amount of heat loss as compared to a typical combined mechanical chase.

Project Details


429 East 156th Street


South Bronx





Owner/General Contractor:

Blue Sea Construction, New York, NY


Danois Architects, New York, NY

Design Architect:

Equus Design Group, Belmont, MA


William Atlas Associates, New York, NY

Sq. Footage:




Structural Elements:

• floors and roof - 8" hollowcore plank
• stairs, stairwells & landings (all precast concrete)
• elevator shaft (all precast concrete)


2009 PCI Design Award for Sustainable Design


Back to