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Vacant stores on the rise in Throggs Neck

With the number of retail and commercial vacancies increasing at the intersection of Bruckner Boulevard and E. Tremont Avenue, business leaders from the past and present are eying strategies to return the location to the Throggs Neck jewel it once was.

Business leaders from two different eras believe the intersection should be the centerpiece of the Throggs Neck shopping district.

Pasquale Cavallo, former owner of Better Gro Garden Center on Bruckner Boulevard, is again calling for the creation of a parking deck over the Bruckner Expressway air space between Hollywood and Revere avenues.

The idea was first proposed in the 1960s, when Cavallo was president of the Throggs Neck Businessmen’s Association. It called for the creation of municipal parking lot and possibly a combined police and fire station in the airspace above the highway, covering it with a concrete deck that would add up to 400 parking spaces to the commercial district.

“Decking of the Bruckner Expressway would utilize the air space over the expressway for municipal parking and other services,” Cavallo said. “I am 87-years-old and have spent the last 50 years developing the idea. It would make Throggs Neck a queen in the borough of the Bronx and have a positive effect around E. Tremont Avenue going in either direction from Bruckner Boulevard.”

Cavallo presented the plan before the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority in the 1960s, and brought back the plan again in the following decades.

John Cerini, president of the current business organization, the Throggs Neck Merchants Association, said he investigated the possibility of Cavallo’s idea as a springboard to livening up the intersection. He has also proposed adding an off ramp at Bruckner Expressway at Quincy Avenue, bringing increased traffic that would feed right into E. Tremont Avenue.

“We were looking into bringing one large chain store to the area, and we’re told that we needed highway access,” Cerini said. “A good first step would be to add an off ramp at Quincy Avenue and Bruckner Expressway.”

Cerini said that an off ramp at that location would increase auto access to E. Tremont Avenue, helping to fill the vacant commercial space in the one block radius surrounding Bruckner Boulevard. Cerini acknowledged that the opening of an off ramp at that location might be supported by the residents.

“Oftentimes it is necessary to strike a middle ground between what the community will support and what business ask for,” Cerini said.

Cerini said of the decking proposal: “It would require a large capital investment; the municipal parking lot could provide a revenue stream for the city.”

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