- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.Q6qPkwFC.dpuf Speaker, Back in the Bronx, Tours Armory | Bronx News Networkbronx

Friday, September 7, 2007

Speaker, Back in the Bronx, Tours Armory

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn ventured into the Bronx for the third time this week, to take a tour of the long-vacant Kingsbridge Armory, a giant castle in the middle of Community Board 7.

In October, the city will decide on one of two developers -- the prolific Peter Fine's Atlantic Development Group or Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff's friends, the Related Companies -- to turn the Armory into a mixed-use development.

Representatives from the Retail Workers Union, the Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment Alliance (KARA) and the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition (NWBCCC) joined up with an armada of Bronx politicians, including Council members, Joel Rivera, Oliver Koppell and Maria Baez (the first time, after nearly 15 months on the job here in the northwest Bronx I've ever seen her in person) and also Bronx Democratic Chairman and State Assemblyman Jose Rivera (catching all the action with his hand-held video camera). Borough prez Adolfo Carrion showed up for a brief cameo.

For Quinn, the tour was an educational exercise. She didn't want media attending the tour (I attended because I found out about it and tried to act as un-journalistic as possible) and claims to have no position, yet, on what the Armory should contain or bring to the community.

"I'm looking at my schedule today and I'm thinking, 'Who's Kara?,'" she said, drawing a laugh from the crowd of about 35 aides, organizers and city agency employees.

But for the stakeholders, the union, KARA, NWBCCC and the council members, this was an opportunity to lay out their redevelopment vision -- living wage jobs, environmental sustainability, added school seats, ample community space, etc. -- to the head of the City Council, which will have a chance to a chance to approve or rejects plans for the Armory during the land review process, likely to happen sometime next summer or fall.

The biggest pushes appear to be to add school seats (the DOE dropped plans to build two schools at the site), assure good jobs for people in the community (the developers balked at including living wage job requirements in their original proposals) and the signing of a community benefits agreement.

Recently, the developers revised their original plans to accommodate recommendations from the Armory Task Force (an advisory group set up by the city), KARA and CB7, but the community has yet to see what those revised plans look like.

Someone from the Economic Development Corporation, the city agency managing the Armory project, said the city would choose a developer sometime in October.

(Above, a photo of the massive Kingsbridge Armory hovering over the 4 train station at Kingsbridge Road) -- By Alex Kratz

1 comment:

  1. It nice the Quinn has finally noticed the Bronx


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