In late February, Related Cos. received final approval from the New York City Council for its planned $394 million retail and hotel center in one of the country's poorest neighborhoods — not far from Yankee Stadium.

Investment in the borough, especially in the long-neglected South Bronx, is rare. But Related is convinced consumers will flock to the 1 million-square-foot center when it opens in 2009 with national, regional and local stores.

Called Gateway Center, it will be built on the site of the deteriorating Bronx Terminal Market. The remaining merchants will be moved to a new location. Details are scarce.

The community is 54 percent Hispanic and 41 percent African American.

Related is working on the project with BTM Development Partners LLC.