City renews efforts to redevelop Kingsbridge Armory

The Kingsbridge Armory at 195th Street and Jerome Avenue. Image: Cityland

Previous redevelopment proposal defeated after Bronx leaders objected to project’s impact on community and developer’s refusal to agree to living wage provision. On January 12, 2012, the Economic Development Corporation issued a request for proposals for the redevelopment of the long-vacant Kingsbridge Armory in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx. The 575,000 sq.ft. landmarked building features an open hall with high ceilings and 180,000 sq.ft. of space. The RFP comes two years after the City Council rejected the Related Companies’ proposal to convert the armory into a retail mall with a movie theater, fitness center, and supermarket. 

The City selected Related after issuing an RFP for the site in 2006. Related’s redevelopment proposal was met with opposition from Bronx elected officials and community and labor groups. The opponents were concerned about the project’s impact on the area’s existing retail businesses, and were unhappy that Related would not sign a community benefits agreement that included a living wage provision requiring the armory’s developer and future tenants to pay employees associated with the armory at least $10 an hour with health benefits, or $11.50 an hour without benefits. The Council denied the project by a 44-1-3 vote. 6 CityLand 167 (Dec. 2009).

In contrast to the 2006 RFP, EDC will now consider proposals to lease as well as to purchase the armory. Similar to the previous RFP, developers are encouraged to submit proposals for commercial, retail, entertainment, recreation, and community facility uses. EDC will not consider proposed residential uses, and big-box stores are discouraged. The goals of the project are to promote economic growth, minimize traffic impacts, and provide quality jobs for local residents.

As in the 2006 RFP, EDC “will view favorably” proposals that maximize the number of jobs meeting the standards of the City’s existing living wage regulations. Local Law 38 of 2002 amended the administrative code and requires certain service contractors and subcontractors doing business with the City to pay employees at least $10 with health benefits or $11.50 without benefits.

Local Law 38 of 2002 is unrelated to the living wage bill currently under consideration by the City Council. Spurred along in part by the defeat of Related’s proposal, the Fair Wages for New Yorkers’ Act would require the developers and tenants of certain development projects receiving financial assistance from the City to pay employees a “living wage” tied to the consumer price index. Recently, however, Speaker Christine Quinn announced plans to introduce an amended proposal that would only cover the developers of projects receiving financial assistance from the City and not the project’s retail tenants.

Developers must submit their proposals by March 22, 2012.

EDC: Request for Proposals – Kingsbridge Armory (Jan. 12, 2012).

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