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Charter School, Apartments May Replace Former State Detention Center

By Eddie Small | June 9, 2014 4:52pm
 Pyramid Investors purchased the Melrose building known as the former Pyramid Reception Center for $6.65 million.
Pyramid Investors purchased the Melrose building known as the former Pyramid Reception Center for $6.65 million.
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Office of General Services

MELROSE — A long-vacant Bronx property, which once served as a state youth detention center, could become a charter school and an apartment building, the investors said.

Pyramid Investors, composed of the Bluestone and Altmark groups, recently purchased the former Pyramid Reception Center at 470 E. 161st St., near Third Avenue, for $6.65 million.

The building, which dates to around 1915, has been vacant for about five years.

The first floor of the 60,000 square foot former detention center and YMCA contains offices and a dental exam room; the second contains an elevated running track; and the third and fourth contain bedrooms and group bathrooms. There is a basement as well, which has a kitchen and swimming pool.

Bluestone Senior Vice President Barry Altmark said they have been speaking with nonprofit groups and charter schools that are interested in leasing the building as well as developers about what to do with the adjacent lot.

Although it was early in the planning process, Altmark said the lot would most likely become an apartment building, and they do not intend to change the architecture of the existing building.

"It’s very significant for the area," he said. "We plan on keeping it the way it is."

Pyramid bought the building because of the recent growth in the neighborhood, such as the completion of Atlantic Development's 700 unit Boricua College and Village and the Bronx Music Heritage Center.

"We saw it as an opportunity to bring in another community oriented group to lease the building and take over a building that’s been long vacant in an area that’s improving," Altmark said.

The group does not have a timeline for its work on the lot yet, but it hopes to make a decision about who to lease the existing building to within the next three or four months. Altmark would not comment on what schools and non-profits had expressed interest in the property.