It could be the largest structure to rise in the Bronx in over 30 years, but members of Community Board 11’s land use committee don’t want to see a huge back-up 911 call center built on land that was formally Bronx State Hospital.
In a vote on September 11, CB 11’s land-use committee disapproved the proposed sale of Hutchinson Metro Center property to New York City to build the tower, whose plan has added nearly one-hundred feet since it was first proposed a year ago by the NYPD and FDNY, currently standing at 374-feet tall.
“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 would be 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 back up 911-facility is a redundancy precaution, protecting the city if the main system in Brooklyn goes down from a natural disaster, terrorist attack, or some other crisis.
The plans call for 500 car-parking lot next to the site, which would be to the north of the Hutch Metro Center at 1200 Waters Place and south of Pelham Parkway, between the Amtrak and Metro North rail line and a south-bound exit of the Hutchinson River Parkway. In addition, NYPD and FDNY has said that 800 workers would use the facility, which would have a pedestrian ramp leading from Pelham Parkway to the building, and security measures such as screening and a blast wall to protect the building from bombings. A new mapped street, an extension of the Hutch Metro Center’s service road, would also be built.
“As of now, the proposal for the sale of the land to create the 911 call center was disapproved in the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure by CB 11’s land-use committee,” said CB 11 member Vinny Prezioso. “We will hand out a detailed list of our objections to the project at the next full CB 11 board meeting, on September 25 at Einstein Medical Center.”
CB 11 land-use committee chairman Joe McManus said that the proposed building, a 17-story tower with abnormally large floors, would average 37-stories in a traditional office or apartment building, contain 368,000 square-feet and could even surpass Tracey Towers as the Bronx’s tallest building when the final plans become available.
“For the past year and half the owner the Hutchinson Metro Center has been in negotiations with the city, and now that it is a prime piece of real estate, the city wants to buy it cheaply,” McManus noted. “A blind man could see this building, so if you are worried about a terrorist attack, building a huge building in the flight path of LaGuardia airport and next to a busy rail line isn’t the way to go. It is wrong for our neighborhood.”