- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.Q6qPkwFC.dpuf B.P. Diaz Wants "Real Response" on Armory Issues | Bronx News Networkbronx

Friday, October 9, 2009

B.P. Diaz Wants "Real Response" on Armory Issues

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. says the Kingsbridge Armory's designated developer, The Related Companies, is not responding to community concerns about the Armory project.

Related's plan to turn the massive and vacant Kingsbridge Armory into a shopping mall is currently in the middle of the city's land review process. On Monday, Oct. 19, the City Planning Commission will vote on whether or not to approve the project. Diaz, as well as the Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment Alliance (KARA) have urged the planning commission to reject the project because it lacks a community benefits agreement (CBA) that would address many of the community issues.

Related sent an official response to Diaz's concerns about the project, but they were not anywhere near what the borough president was hoping for.

“It is upsetting that, rather than address the legitimate concerns of the Bronx community surrounding this development, on issues ranging from traffic to business impact, the Related Cos. and its consultant have simply chosen to dismiss, if not outright ignore, issues raised by my office,” Diaz said in a statement today.

Earlier this fall, Diaz, KARA and Community Board 7 drafted a proposed CBA and sent it to Related. But there has been little negotiation since, except for Related saying that many of the provisions in the CBA, including living wage requirements, would render the project unprofitable for the developer. Without any progress on CBA negotiations, Diaz issued a negative recommendation to City Planning.

Last week, Related representatives and Diaz spoke briefly before a fundraising dinner held by the Bronx Chamber of Commerce at the Marina Del Rey, but apparently the two made little progress on the CBA front. In a speech during the event, Diaz said the Bronx needed to find a way to create more "living wage" jobs. Related received an award at the event, but did not speak to the crowd after receiving it.

“In many cases, the Related Cos. responses to the questions raised by my office seem to have been issued without any real consideration of those concerns, as though the answer was predetermined before the question was even asked, which is no way to formulate responsible public policy. I hope that the developer will take another look at my concerns—which were put forward only after months of careful consideration and discussion with numerous community organizations—and offer my office a real response on these issues,” Diaz said in a statement.

After City Planning makes its decision on Oct. 19, the City Council then has 20 days to vote on the Armory project.


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