‘Il Centro’ almost done — again!

Putting on the finishing touches: The Federation of Italian-American Organizations supercenter Il Centro is nearing completition.
Brooklyn Daily
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Long-awaited — and equally long-delayed — Italian cultural center “Il Centro” will open its doors in Bath Beach in July.

Workers just have to put the finishing touches on a gymnasium floor and pool and get some final inspections, according a member of the Federation of Italian-American Organizations, which is building the center.

“They were sanding the parquet floor in the gym this week — they just have to put the shellac over it and that’s done,” said Joe Rizzi. “They are finishing [the lining in the pool] and water should be in by next week.”

The cultural group announced plans to build the six-story community center on the corner of 18th and Benson avenues in 2009, anticipating it would take between 12 and 18 months to complete. Builders topped it off three years later in 2012 — then held a sneak peak at the still under-construction polestar in 2014.

Rizzi blamed the hold-up on “usual” delays builders experience obtaining construction permits from the city.

Department of Buildings inspectors have slapped Il Centro’s contractors with more than three-dozen violations since 2011, city records show. Builders have resolved all but one — a citation workers received last July for installing the building’s sprinkler system without the required permit.

The center’s first floor will be open to the public and include classrooms, a cultural library, and a full-size kitchen where folks can take cooking classes and finally nail down that perfect Sunday sauce, officials said.

Dues-paying members will get access to higher floors, which will include a fitness area, basketball court, and pool, as well as a rooftop garden. The federation has not determined the cost of membership, Rizzi said.

The cultural group contributed most of the money to build the center — whose cost has grown from $15 million in 2009 to more than $20 million today. But taxpayers have helped, too. State Sen. Martin Golden (R–Bay Ridge) gave the project $2 million and then-Rep. Representative Michael McMahon kicked in another $700,000.

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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