Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Notes from Da Bronx: Kingsbridge

On the other side of the 4 train, not far from East Fordham Road, the Bronx has had its own redevelopment issue called the Kingsbridge Armory. Yesterday, City Council overwhelmingly voted the project down (45-1) as the Bronx Times has the breaking. Here's the mayor's response from Denmark:
“Today’s vote against the Kingsbridge Armory redevelopment project means the loss of a rare opportunity to bring thousands of jobs and more than $300 million in private investment to The Bronx. Given that the national recession continues to weigh on the entire City and keep unemployment high – particularly in The Bronx – the outcome and timing couldn’t be worse.

“The community-led planning process for the project began more than three years ago, when we formed a Task Force made up of the two area community boards, local civic groups, and elected officials. This Task Force ensured local community interests were incorporated into the process, and the result was a plan to transform the vacant armory into a new shopping destination, with dedicated community space, major workforce development initiatives, 1,200 permanent jobs and 1,000 construction jobs. It would have relieved the City of millions of dollars in operating, security and capital expenses to maintain the empty facility. Instead, the Task Force, the local community board, area civic groups and, most of all, people in the Bronx who need jobs were ignored, and an unfortunate signal has been sent that the Bronx is not open for business.

“From early in the planning process, we made clear we would never add mandatory wage requirements which would make the project unviable, and that was a line we were never going to cross. It’s not the role of the public sector. As a result of today’s vote, we can say one thing for sure: there will be no wages paid at all at the Kingsbridge Armory for the foreseeable future. It’s a disappointing and irrational outcome, but New Yorkers can rest assured our Administration will not waver in our efforts to encourage private sector investment and job creation in The Bronx and throughout New York City.”

City Hall News has the political implications of the vote. Liz Benjamin at the News has the Mayor's views and more Quinn wrangling. Courtney Gross at Gotham Gazette takes the long view and WNYC looks to the future on wage legislation.

No comments: