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Big box on the Pelham Parkway

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Work crews will be visible by October at the construction site of the box-like 911 Call Center near Pelham Parkway and Hutchinson River Parkway, with full-scale groundbreaking likely in March or April of next year.

Representatives from Mayor Bloomberg’s administration and the Department of Design and Construction met with members Community Board 11 on Thursday, August 27 to discuss plans for the scaled-back call center, named PSAC II.

A three- to four-year project is now in the works. The site was purchased from Simone Development for an undisclosed price, Gene Bernardi, a representative of Deputy Mayor Edward Skyler, said. The height of the call center will be scaled back 100 feet, dropping from over 350 feet above grade to 250 feet.

“I think this is a victory and Councilman Jimmy Vacca deserves a lot of the credit for pushing the mayor’s office to realize that this project was not going to fly unless they lowered the height of the building and listened to the community,” Community Board 11 district manager John Fratta said.

Vacca said he would be following the project, and agreed that the lowering of the building’s height was an asset.

“I think this plan is much better than what we originally saw, which was a building that was too high and would have looked wrong off the Hutch,” Vacca said.

Tischman Construction has been selected as the main builder, and will handle subcontracting for the project.

Trucks and heavy excavation equipment will access the area from what will soon be called Marconi Street, formally an access road for the Hutchinson Metro Center. The cost of construction on the project is projected at $550 million.

When complete, the project will include a pedestrian access bridge from Pelham Parkway for the 300 employees expected to work in three shifts at the call center.

Fratta said he was pleased with the plan but also cautioned that the construction will inconvenience everyone.

CB 11 vice chairman Vinny Prezioso added: “I don’t think that the construction will run as smoothly as they are saying. It will cause a lot of traffic […] the building is essentially a box, but at least now it has windows.”

The original design of the building had no real windows, Prezioso said. Vacca said he would look into getting better access to and from the worksite and the finished building.

“I would like to see access from the Hutchinson River Parkway directly to the site because it would relieve congestion on Waters Place,” Vacca said.

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