Now that The Bronx has been razed, site to remain vacant for 6 months

The Warwick Melrose Hotel cleared land along Cedar Springs for an upcoming addition to the hotel. The old building was demolished last week and the land cleared by this Wednesday.

In 2011, the hotel purchased the property that was the home of the restaurant The Bronx since 1975 for a planned expansion.

Hotel General Manager Larry McAfee said construction probably won’t begin until June or July. Before then, the hotel has some zoning issues to take care of and will be submitting plans to the Oak Lawn Committee.

He expects approval to come before the City Council in March.

Current plans are to build a pool, spa and ballroom. McAfee said the new building will probably be only two stories. The hotel will also probably add about 100 parking spaces.

The building that was demolished housed some of the earliest gay-owned businesses on Cedar Springs Road including Lobo Bookstore and Under Arrest. When those businesses moved, The Bronx doubled its size and occupied the full building.

Also torn down was the old Spanish Village, a restaurant that was located in a building between The Bronx and Cafe Brazil (which was Steak and Egg Kitchen at the time). The Spanish Village building, which had been vacant for more than 20 years, was distinguished by the house that sat on top of the restaurant.

—  David Taffet

Melrose Hotel’s plans for The Bronx property include ballroom, meeting and conference space

Warwick, the owner of the Melrose Hotel which last week announced plans to purchase The Bronx, the restaurant that has anchored the gayborhood for 35 years, released their plans for the real estate today.

“The current plans call for a large and pillar-less ballroom which would be complemented by additional meeting and conference space in a nearby building. The construction of a spa and a swimming pool is also under study,” Warwick said.

Whatever it ends up being, it sounds like it will not be a restaurant — and certainly not The Bronx.

The Bronx occupies a building constructed in the early 20th century. It would presumably be razed to make room for whatever construction the Melrose pursues.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

The Bronx says farewell

After 35 years, The Bronx Cafe closed its doors for the last time Sunday, following a busy weekend that saw finding a table harder than Final Four seats. Around 7 p.m. Sunday, everything was cycling down and the remaining staffers — including co-owner Jess Gilbert and his nonagenarian mother, seated center, posed for a final photo. It was a tearful last few days, following the announcement earlier this week that the restaurant that basically invented the gayborhood sold to the Warwick Melrose Hotel. No word yet on what will become of the space.

“We need to start a petition to keep it The Bronx!” one patron insisted to me. Of course, the Melrose probably bought it with a plan in mind we don’t know about, so I don’t know how successful such a petition would be. But it didn’t matter Sunday — everyone was choked up, but there was also joy in the air.

To read last week’s story on the Bronx closure, go here, and to see additional photos, go here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones