THE BRONX - City officials broke ground Thursday on a new building that will have more than 100 affordable apartments and space for retailers.

The 17-story building at 810 River Ave. will include 134 affordable apartments, plus commercial and community space, and even a parking garage.

"You look around, you see one- or two-story buildings, that's it, so this is an opportunity to bring in a whole new group of people," said Cary Goodman, of the 161st Street Business Improvement District.

The city- and state-funded multimillion-dollar project is the first since the city rezoned River Avenue in 2009.

Officials say it took so long because rezoning gives property owners a choice instead of pushing them out.

Residents say that even if these developments sporadically pop up, it's worth the wait.

"I think that it's great especially in this area, we have the Yankee Stadium, and I think it'll be a great tourist spot," said Manene Bamba, of River Avenue.

Construction will take place in roughly two years. As for future projects, city officials hope that more developers will come forward, take advantage of this rezoning, and build more housing in the neighborhood.

There is no word yet on what retailers will take over the space. The lottery for housing will open up in roughly a year on the city's Housing Preservation Department website.