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Friday, June 26, 2009

Renovations Underway for Bank Note Building

Almost a month after Ruben Diaz, Jr. was elected as the 13th Bronx Borough President, renovations have begun on the historic BankNote Building, where Diaz held his inaguration reception in May.

The BankNote Building, which is often referred to as the "penny factory," began as the home of the American Bank Note Co. where international and domestic currencies were printed. The building has undergone proposals for various projects since 1985, but was bought recently by developers and is in the works for completion this year.

Current plans for the BankNote call for elaborate redesigning that the City hopes will bring in more economic development that fall in line with Diaz's plan for "One Bronx."

In Diaz's inaguration speech on May 21, he said "for too long, our business organizations and merchants associations have worked separately to improve their own neighborhoods." The goal for the new president's term will working to align businesses' needs with those of the community in order to achieve this goal.

And now developing pioneers, Taconic Investment Partners and Denham Wolf Real Estate Services, plan to change the BankNote Building into something more modern and more "green," to help this cause.

Paul Wolf, the president of Denham Wolf Real Estate Services, who led a tour of the building at the inaguration reception for Diaz, said guests were impressed with the space.

“There was a lot of buzz around the room about the renovations – people said they felt like they were in the middle of a SoHo loft party with better views," said Wolf in a press release by Quinn and Co., a NYC-based PR firm.

BankNote's website shows three-dimensional blueprints for what looks similar to a multifaceted commerce center--complete with office space, cafeteria and shopping mall. The vision for future development of the 405,000-square-foot structure includes giving the more-than-300 windows "energy efficient" makeovers, and governing the building by a solar photovoltaic system -- the process that uses silicon solar panels to convert sunlight into energy.

All of this seems to follow Diaz's statements to want to guide the Bronx in a "green" direction, as well. "We are not just going to talk about bringing environmentally friendly jobs to our borough, we are going to lead the City and the nation in making it happen," Diaz said at his inaguration. "The Earth, and your wallets, will be better off for our efforts."

As of now, BankNote is home to artists' studios, sustainable development offices , a wine cellar, and a charter school, among others. The $25-million renovation project is scheduled to be completed later this year.


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