BRONX W www.BXTimes.com EEKLY August 11, 2019 2
Castle Hill BID’s merchant support reaches 100%
BY PATRICK ROCCHIO
Unanimous approval was garnered
among merchants for the creation of a
Castle Hill Business Improvement District,
which will now move to the legislative
phase after clearing the hurdle
of achieving support among merchants
and property owners.
In addition to the unprecedented
level of support among merchants, about
60 percent of all landlords, merchants
and homeowners in Castle Hill supported
the creation of the BID, said John
Bonizio, a Westchester Square business
leader assisting in the effort to create the
borough’s next BID.
The proposed BID would fan out over
several blocks along Castle Hill and
Westchester avenues, where they both
intersect, along the commercial corridor,
Bonizio said that he and Lisa Sorin,
currently the Bronx Chamber of Commerce
executive director, were asked by
former Councilwoman Annabel Palma
to help with BID formation in Castle
“Castle Hill needs a really strong
clean up (sanitation) program and an
advocacy program which a BID executive
director would provide,” said Bonizio,
adding the merchants need holiday
lights and marketing plans.
“It is a matter of being able to orga-
This map shows the boundaries of the proposed Castle Hill Business Improvement District
along Castle Hill and Westchester Avenues. The BID is receiving unanimous support among
the merchants. Photo courtesy of John Bonizio
nize the businesses, brand (Castle Hill)
and market,” he added. “It should give
businesses there the opportunity to
come back and create a plan that will
make consumers want to come there and
Bob Bieder, owner of Westchester
Square Plumbing Supply, which was
among the last businesses in the BID’s
proposed area to support the proposal,
said that be believes that the BID garnered
widespread support because of the
job that Bonizio and Sorin did of explaining
the benefi ts of a BID to the local merchants.
“When you present these things in
the proper light and when you explain
what it will do to improve and add to
their businesses, merchants respond
favorably,” said Bieder, adding “There
are BIDs all around the city and none of
them have ever failed.”
Bieder added that he believes a BID
in Castle Hill would make the merchants
and the community stronger.
As a property owner, who would face
a higher assessment to cover BID fi nancing,
Bieder said he was concerned because
his piece of property is likely the
largest in the area, with 110-feet of frontage
on a corner lot. Corner commercial
properties are assessed higher rates to
fi nance BID operations, he said.
“My business would probably benefi t
the least from the BID,” Bieder said, explaining
that one of the things BIDs do
very well is generating foot traffi c, however
in the plumbing supply business,
foot traffi c is not a driver of sales.
Nevertheless, the merchant said that
he believes it will add to the overall area,
which he also calls home.
“It is the only money that you give to
the city that you get back 100 percent,”
Bonizio attributed the widespread
support of the BID in Castle Hill, which
was better received than the Westchester
Square, Throggs Neck or Morris Park effort
was at the same stage, as a sign that
merchants in the area see greater issues,
and greater opportunity for a BID
as a vehicle to handling some of their
Seven-alarm fi re at Concourse Village apartment building
BY STEVEN GOODSTEIN
A fi re at an apartment building in
Grand Village resulted in injuries to
fi refi ghters and civilians, earlier this
On the morning of Monday, August 5,
a multiple-alarm fi re erupted at 225 Mc-
Clellan Street, a 40-unit, fi ve-story property
with ground-fl oor retail space.
According to the FDNY, the inferno
began in a grocery store on the fi rst
fl oor of the building before it quickly
spread to the four upper fl oors.
In order to properly extinguish the
fi re, fi refi ghters had to open up several
ceilings and walls to expose the
fi re while using multiple hose lines.
The FDNY also used a drone to obtain
footage of the blaze, which helped them
strategize a solution to douse the fi re.
Videos on social media show fi refi
ghters on the roof of the building in an
attempt to tame the blaze that lasted for
over three hours.
A total of 11 individuals were injured,
including eight fi refi ghters and
an infant boy. The cause of the fi re was
still being determined, as of press time.
The fi re, which was classifi ed as a
seven-alarm fi re at its peak, was brought
under control at around 8:30 a.m. that
morning, according to the FDNY. They
also confi rmed that that approximately
50 units, including 225 fi refi ghters and
emergency medical service members, responded
to the blaze.
The Red Cross held a reception for
the affected families at the Family
School, 1116 Sheridan Avenue, providing
them food, water, health, emotional
support and fi nancial assistance while
offering temporary lodging to the displaced
A multiple-alarm fi re is part of a
system based on a fi re’s severity. The
higher number of alarms, the more intense
the fi re is. When a fi re is being
controlled and contained, the degree of
fi re alarms decreases.
Earlier that morning, just before
4 a.m., the FDNY responded to a separate,
four-alarm fi re which erupted at
806 Freeman Street, which resulted in
injuries to two fi refi ghters and one civilian.
The Red Cross registered a total
of 34 families, 81 adults and 52 children
for assistance between the two fi res that
occurred on Monday.
Ariel view of 225 McClellan Street, with FDNY on the roof trying to contain the fi re.
Photo courtesy of FDNY’s Instagram
Ground fl oor retail, including Halall Coffee
Shop and O.D.A. African Market & Grocery
on Sherman Avenue, which connects to 225
McClellan Street, was also destroyed by the
fi re. Photo courtesy of FDNY’s Instagram