- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.Q6qPkwFC.dpuf With No Benefits Agreement, Opposition to Developer's Armory Plan is Mounting | Bronx News Networkbronx

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

With No Benefits Agreement, Opposition to Developer's Armory Plan is Mounting

Community groups, a big retail workers union and Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. told the City Planning Commission today not to approve the Related Companies' plan to redevelop the Kingsbridge Armory into a giant shopping mall because the developer has refused to sign on to a Community Benefits Agreement.

In his statement, Diaz said he couldn't recommend approval of the project "based on the lack of a signed Community Benefits Agreement that inlcudes provisions concerning a living wage policy, first source and local hiring, various economic development initiatives, labor peace and the ability of employees at the retail development to unionize, community access to space at the Kingsbridge Armory and the development of a community facility as part of the project, the maintenance of local parks, green initiatives, and are traffic improvements."

Diaz also relayed concerns about the economic impact on businesses on nearby Fordham Road and the River Plaza, traffic concerns and the inclusion of school facilities as part of the project.

Representatives of the The Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment Alliance (KARA) and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) also said the planning commission shouldn't approve the project for similar reasons, the living wage policy and unionization protections being the biggest ones.

Earlier this summer Community Board 7 voted to approve of the project, but only if Related, a national developer with close ties to the Bloomberg administration, entered into a substantial and binding benefits agreement.

Related has said they would enter into a benefits agreement, but in a statement last week, Related said it had concerns that some of the provisions contained in the borough president's benefits agreement proposal would undermine the financial viability and profitability of the Armory.

Though they declined to specify which provisions they were referring to, Related officials have repeatedly said no to any kind of living wage policy, which would require retailers at the Armory mall to pay their employees $10 an hour, plus benefits.

Because of Diaz's stance, it's clear that negotiations between the borough presidnet (who is also representing KARA and Board 7) and Related hav fizzled.

This morning, KARA held a rally in support of CBA before the planning commission met to hear testimony. Tonight, local religious leaders who are members of KARA are rallying outside of the Armory to "call on God for strength in pursuing the righteous cause of High Road Development at the Kingsbridge Armory."

1 comment:

  1. Ha....idiots. In this enconomy, no one can develop. Here comes a well capitalized and proven re company and they want nothing to do with Related. Nice work. The place will sit empty. Way to go. Progress is great, isn't it!


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