Medical call for mansion

Community Board 11 district manager John Fratta hopes that this work fence (above) at the site of the former Arnow Mansion on Williamsbridge Road will soon come down when a proposed professional building is built on the corner of Pierce Avenue. Photo by Patrick Rocchio

The site of a former mansion once occupied by the prominent Arnow family may get a new lease on life, as Community Board 11, Councilman Jimmy Vacca, and the Morris Park Community Association are all pleased with plans to erect a professional building, though the MPCA would have preferred senior housing.

The Arnow Mansion, a building that has been located at 1604 Williamsbridge Road at the corner of Pierce Avenue, was razed to make way for six, three-family homes in 2006. The downzoning outlawed this type of development and the site remained vacant until new plans could be drawn up.

Builder Joespeh Quintessenza, who has been involved in the community for the past 30-years through Jocarl Management on Victor Street, has filed plans for a medical building with underground parking, exceeding the number of spaces required under the area’s zoning regulations.

“We have gone out of our way to make sure that the new medical building will have more than the required parking,” Quintessenza said. “We feel it will be an asset to the community. We have been operating here for the past 30 years, and are proud of it.”

Jocarl purchased the property from the previous owner, Dr. Arnold Cerasoli, who operated his medical practice in the mansion for 41 years, starting in 1944. Jocarl took over the property in the 1990s.

While local history buffs were saddened when the mansion was demolished, the new building will preserve the medical legacy of Dr. Cerasoli by bringing in a new generation of doctors.

According to Community Board 11 member Joe Bombace, who grew up with Quintessenza, he encouraged the builder to bring revised plans before CB 11 and Vacca, both of whom he said supported the project.

“We are tired of looking at an empty, boarded up site on the corner of Williamsbridge Road and Pierce Avenue,” CB 11 district manager John Fratta said. “We wouldn’t have a problem with a medical building with adequate parking. Our first desire for the property was senior housing, but there isn’t a lot of money allocated in the budget right now to build senior housing.”

MPCA president Al D’Angelo met with Quintessenza on Friday, January 30, and was also impressed by the plans.

D’Angelo stated, “The fact that most of the offices in the building would be closed by 5 p.m., when people start to come home from work, would alleviate the issue of parking for neighbors on the street. It will be a professional building, and likely have more than just doctors – maybe even a daycare center – in the offices.”

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