One of the borough’s economic engines is lobbying for public funds to improve access to its campus-like grounds.
The long-promised road that would provide direct access into and out of the Hutchinson Metro Center from the Hutchinson River Parkway, a proposal that dates back to 2002, is needed for the sprawling office complex and a planned adjoining Metro North station, according to the development’s management.
The roadway was discussed with government officials when Simone Development purchased the land for the first phase of Hutch Metro Center, which has since grown to include a Montefiore ambulatory surgery center and a Marriot hotel, said Joseph Kelleher, Simone Metro Properties president.
“The reason for building this road is the Hutchinson Metro Center only has one way in and one way out,” said Kelleher. “It will ease congestion in and out of the center, and on surrounding roadways, which are already over taxed.”
The roadway improvement would create a new parkway exit and entrance to the Hutch Metro Center and an adjoining city 911 Call Center. The site is currently accessed by Marconi Street.
It was included in a group of recommendations in a May 2015 NYC Department of City Planning study of the parkway between the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge and Co-op City, said Kelleher.
A subsequent $1 million study completed in 2018 by the NYC Department of Design and Construction concluded that the project and ancillary work would cost over $127 million.
Given the price tag, the entire Bronx NYC City Council delegation sent a letter to Governor Cuomo on Monday, February 25 asking that the state split the costs of the project.
“While the development in itself paints a healthy economic picture for the Bronx, it’s missing one very important element: adequate and swift highway access to and from the site,” stated the letter, asking for state help in financing the new construction.
Hutch Metro is in Councilman Mark Gjonaj’s district, and he said that another road would relieve congestion on Marconi Street and Waters Place, which often becomes jammed with cars.
The councilman said he believes that the city and state would be investing taxpayer dollars wisely, and pave the way for an already planned future expansion of HMC.
“This is economic development at its best, creating infrastructure for future investment and current needs,” said Gjonaj. He believes that it is the responsibility of the city to build roads like this to further economic development.
The next step is to get the project funded in both the city and state budgets, stated Gjonaj, with Kelleher adding that the street would traverse the development from the parkway to Marconi Street, and potentially also have the effect of easing traffic congestion around nearby Jacobi Medical Center, Einstein Hospital and Calvary Hospital.
Arlene Grauer, Country Club Civic Association president, said she visits HMC frequently and believes that the access road is badly needed for safety reasons.
“I think it is paramount that people have more than one way in and out of the Hutchinson Metro Center,” she said, adding “My concern is the safety and security of people using the medical facilities as well as its employees. If there is an emergency…it isn’t going to pretty.”