In what is the largest building planned for the Bronx in over 30 years, a behemoth structure to house a back-up 911-call center for New York City is lurking around the corner on a parcel of land that once belonged to Bronx State Psychiatric Hospital.
The building plans call for seven floors of operational space and four mechanical floors plus a roof parapet, with a non-standard design that includes several floors over 20 feet tall; some almost 40 feet tall. It appears the rooftop will also have some sort of practical use.
The 367-foot building, rooftop included, will employ 800 people, according to preliminary estimates, worrying some in the area who feel that Pelham Parkway will become over burdened by traffic.
“It is a lot taller than we originally were told it was going to be,” said Community Board 11 district manger John Fratta. “Even though it is next to the Hutch Metro Center and not on any one of our streets, we are concerned about the traffic the facility will bring on Pelham Parkway and other roads.”
The plans call for a 500-car parking lot next to the site, which is to the north of the Hutch Metro Center at 1200 Waters Place and south of Pelham Parkway, between the Amtrak rail line and a south-bound exit of the Hutchinson River Parkway.
There will be pedestrian access from Pelham Parkway, and security measures such as screening and a blast wall to protect the building from terrorist attack. A new mapped street will be built, an extension of the office park’s service road that will include both car and truck turnarounds.
The back-up 911-facility is a redundancy precaution, protecting the city if the main 911-facility in Brooklyn goes down either from a natural disaster, terrorist attack or some other cataclysmic occurrence.
“It is a homeland security measure, and I think that the board will likely support it,” Fratta continued. “It is going to go through ULURP hearings in a couple of weeks.”
The property needed to build the facility will be taken for an undisclosed sum from the Hutch Metro Center.
Both NYPD and FDNY made a presentation to Community Board 11 members, and the general feeling is the homeland security measure, which will be a secure compound that is not accessible to the general public, is going to be built no matter how the community feels about it.
“The only concession I would like to see is that they build two smaller buildings, instead of one larger one, and I know of a lot of other people who feel the same way,” said Vinny Prezioso, first vice-chair of CB 11. “Many people don’t want the project one way or another.”
The building would likely be the second tallest in the Bronx, with only Tracey Towers on Mosholu Parkway taller at about 400 feet. A spokeswoman from the Riverbay Corporation, which runs Co-op City, said that their 33-story towers would likely also approximate the height of the proposed 911-call center.
For perspective, the Church at Mount Loretto, according to online sources, is the tallest structure on Staten Island at 225 feet; the Williamsburg Savings Bank clocks in as the largest Brooklyn building at 512 feet, and One Court Square in Queens, which houses Citibank offices, is the tallest in that borough at 658 feet.
In Manhattan, the largest building of course is the Empire State Building at 1,454 feet, though the Freedom Tower will top it when completed, totaling 1,776 feet from the ground.
Neither the NYPD nor FDNY chose to comment on the project, as of press time.
©2008 Community News Group