Budget problems shorten 911 call center

A roadway would have to be constructed (above) leading to the area the NYPD purchased from Simone Development.

Due to escalating cost and a decline in revenue for the city, a 911-call center that is planned for the Pelham Parkway area will get drastically scaled back.

The proposed building was set to be the largest built in the Bronx in over 30 years. The second NYC call center will be constructed on land that was acquired from Simone Development by the New York Police Department just south of Pelham Parkway and west of the Hutchinson River Parkway.

The tower was to rise at least 350 feet, casting a shadow over Morris Park and surrounding communities.

“Given the current financial outlook, we are looking at cost reductions for the project,” said J.R. Martin, spokesman for the Department of Design and Construction.

Martin said he could not comment as to the specifics of DDC’s planned cost reductions, but said that the overall fiscal discord in the city’s budget affects DDC and all other city agencies.

Community Board 11 had lobbied long and hard against the call-center’s original design. CB 11’s land use committee and others in the community feel that the same type of call center could be housed at the location in two smaller buildings.

“According to my discussions with the City Planning Commission, the project is being scaled back but not shelved,” said John Fratta, CB 11 district manager. “We may not end up with such a monster of a building. We would like to see a new design of the building should the agencies responsible for the development decide to redesign the call center.”

It is not yet clear what impacts the overall cuts to the budget will have on the project.

“The only concession I would like to see is that they build two smaller buildings, instead of one large 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.”

Another member of CB 11, Joe Bombace, said he was worried that the timing of the project, whose budget has shot up from $670 million to almost $1 billion, would interfere with the reconstruction of Pelham Parkway.

“The reconstruction of Pelham Parkway is set to begin in August 2009 and having these two projects going nearby at the same time would wreck havoc in the area,” Bombace said.

More from Around NYC