06 avril 2015

Canadian Cement Company Hopes to Set Up Shop on Bronx Waterfront

DNA Info, 6 avril 2015, Eddie Small – A Canadian cement company hopes to reduce truck traffic in The Bronx and help develop the borough’s waterfront by setting up a new warehouse in the borough.

McInnis Cement, a Montreal-based company, plans to build a roughly $40 million distribution warehouse along the East River at Oak Point Avenue and East 149th Street, a development the company said should bring about 20 jobs to the neighborhood.

The cement will arrive at the facility via boat, which property owner Steve Smith said will clear up truck traffic in the neighborhood.

“They’re talking about this ship coming down from Quebec that holds 35,000 tons,” he said. “Just think about how many tons that takes off the roads.”

Although McInnis still plans to use trucks to deliver cement from its warehouse to its customers, the new facility should decrease the total amount of miles they drive throughout The Bronx, according to Jim Braselton, senior vice president of sales, marketing and logistics at McInnis.

“We’ve done a pretty thorough analysis of the trucking effect in the local community and, in general, we believe that trucking will go down,” Braselton said.
McInnis estimates the amount of miles traveled by cement trucks in The Bronx will drop from roughly 96,000 to 73,000, while the amount of miles traveled in New York City will drop from about 340,000 to 124,000, Braselton said.

The site is currently used on an as-needed basis by a variety of businesses that includes trucking companies, garbage companies and “a guy that delivers wood all over New York City,” Smith said.

Rafael Salamanca Jr., district manager of Bronx Community Board 2, described truck traffic as a major issue in the neighborhood that negatively impacts its air quality, traffic, and asthma rates.

“Limiting the amount of trucks that drive through our community is something that we’ve been pushing [for] for years to get better air,” he said.

Salamanca said he was initially skeptical of the project but ultimately came to see it as a positive.

“There are some cons,” he said. “We’re not completely removing our truck traffic from that area, but it will dramatically be reduced.”

As part of the project, McInnis wants to build a pedestrian pathway on the waterfront along Oak Point Avenue between 149th Street and Barry Street. The company hopes that neighboring property owners will continue this effort, which residents said they were excited about.

“You have this great view,” said Hunts Point resident Maria Torres. “It’s a view that a lot of people living here don’t get to see, unfortunately, and that could be nice.”
McInnis aims to break ground on the project by the end of the summer and be finished with it by the end of 2016.

The building itself would be a benefit to The Bronx as well, Dr. Ian Amritt, CB2’s chairman.

“You know how Manhattan has a skyline and The Bronx just has a nasty image of prostitution and drugs?” he said. “We’re going to remove that because the building that they’re going to put there is state of the art.”