NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — You can see it from the Pelham Parkway, you can see it from the Hutchinson Parkway, and some Bronx residents can even see it from their front doors.
“We don’t know what it is, I don’t know it’s a building, it’s the security building, that’s the only thing I think it is,” Mina Campanelli told CBS2’s Diane Macedo.
Campanelli’s not the only one.
“I’m from the area and I don’t know. They tell me one thing, but I’m not sure what it really is,” Tina Recine said.
CBS2 went to the Commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction to find out.
“When the twin towers fell down a lot of our communication support were within the area that was affected, and that provided limited communications that were needed in order to respond,” Commissioner Feniosky Pena-Mora explained.
The city designed Public Safety Answer Center II to receive 911 calls and coordinate emergency responses.
The project is intended to act as a supplement to Public Safety Answer Center I in downtown Brooklyn, and as a backup in case of an emergency like a natural disaster or a terrorist attack.
The commissioner said a major challenge was reconciling the need for safety with the building’s aesthetic.
“Windows can be seen sometimes as vulnerabilities so in this case the architects actually had to work really, really hard to put very few windows,” Pena-Mora said, “It has a lot of the securities that you will like to have in a place in which your life depends on it.”
Councilman James Vacca said he and many residents think it’s an eyesore.
“It is one of the most hideous looking buildings I have ever seen,” he said.
Still, Vacca said it will increase police presence in the area, making residents safer.
“Safe is always good,” Recine said.
“It’s not beauty, but if it’s necessary then it becomes beauty,” Reuben Sebastian said.
The center is set to begin operating in 2016.