- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.Q6qPkwFC.dpuf City Promoting Job Boon From Armory; Community Board to Unveil Community Benefits Proposal | Bronx News Networkbronx

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

City Promoting Job Boon From Armory; Community Board to Unveil Community Benefits Proposal

Here's the link to the city's press release about the Kingsbridge Armory project,., which as we mentioned yesterday is now in the land review process, which starts with Community Board 7 -- the area covered by the Norwood News.

In the release, Mayor Bloomberg praises the Armory project as another shining example of public-private partnerships working to bring jobs to New Yorkers.

In this case, the city and state are giving an estimated $60 million-plus in tax breaks and benefits to the Related Companies for developing the Armory into a shopping mall. Related will also take ownership of the Armory, an enormous historically landmarked building smack in the middle of the densely-populated Kingsbridge area. Related is said to be contributing $300 million of its own money for the project.

Bloomberg and Related say the project will bring in 1,200 permanent jobs (some full-time, some part-time) and 1,000 other jobs during construction.

Determining how this will benefit the community is where the community and Bloomberg administration differ. Bloomberg believes, essentially, that development is good in its own right -- it will bring jobs, it will make use of a vacant building, it will bring in commercial activity (sales tax), etc.

The community, in this case represented by CB7 and the Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment Alliance (KARA), says this is not enough. The jobs, they say, won't be high paying. The commercial activity, they say, won't directly benefit the community, which will have to put up with more traffic and two years of construction. It may actually hurt existing area businesses, who will have to compete with Armory businesses.

And this why KARA and CB7 want a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) in place -- to assure that the community will benefit. Related has said it is willing to offer some additional benefits, but took living wage job requirements ($10 and hour, plus benefits) off the table.

KARA and CB7 have kept living wage job requirement firmly on the table. KARA leaders say they think the city should look into other developers if the community's demands (like living wage jobs) are not met. Related has indicated it will back out of the project if the demands are too high (like living wage jobs).

Sounds like an impasse. However, Related will not commit to negotiating with KARA or CB7. Instead, they insist that benefits will be worked out through the Armory Task Force, which includes KARA, CB7, Assemblyman Jose Rivera, Council member Maria Baez, reps from the mayor's office and the Bronx Borough President's office (represented at the last task force meeting by Ray Salaberrios, president of the Bronx Overal Economic Development Corp.).

The city says it wants nothing to do with a Community Benefits Agreement, but also says it wants to be in the room if a CBA is being worked out by parties outside of the task force. The last two CBAs for big projects (Yankee Stadium and Gateway Center Mall), both criticized for lacking community input, were worked out mostly through Adolfo Carrion's borough president's office.

Tonight, at the CB7 monthly meeting, the Board will unveil its draft CBA proposal, which they drew up in anticipation of the start of the land use review process.


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