Following up on the previous post, the vote at City Planning on the Kingsbridge Armory was 8 to 4. A defeat? Obviously. But hardly a nail in the coffin as many Council members will look to the votes of their borough presidents -- and three BP reps (Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan) voted against it -- as they decide whether to give the plan the final OK, or kill it. There are 40 Council members in the three boroughs where the reps voted no. Some of those may not vote for the project, but opponents only need 26 votes to defeat the plan.
We'll have more reporting to come, but it wouldn't surprise us if what happened at City Planning today gets the Related Companies in a negotiating mood on that elusive Community Benefits Agreement.
Here's what the chair of the City Planning Commission had to say about her vote:
“Related Company's proposal to redevelop the Kingsbridge Armory represents the most significant private investment in the northwest Bronx in generations. The plan provides an important opportunity to reactivate a unique asset that has been vacant for the past 15 years and to bring jobs, needed services and retail to a dense, transit-rich part of the Bronx. The plan was developed closely with the community and elected officials as part of Mayor Bloomberg's Kingsbridge Armory Task Force.
“Throughout the ULURP process, there has been spirited discussion about many issues related to how to ensure this major plan is a good fit within its community. Some of these issues are within the purview of the land use process, and some are not.
“I believe the City Planning Commission should not restrict the disposition of the property and should allow flexibility in the tenanting of the Armory to help ensure the success of the project and best serve the needs of the community over time.
“For this application, as we have consistently held with other applications in the past, the issue of a Community Benefit Agreement including commitment to living wages should not weigh in our consideration of the merits of the land-use application for rezoning, disposition of City-owned property, and changes to the City Map. I vote yes.”
And here's what Bedford Park resident and KARA (Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment Alliance) leader Heidi Hynes had to say on the steps of City Hall at a press conferene with the borough president.
"This is a public project and its development must improve the lives of working people in the community. Our City Council representatives now have a golden opportunity to set a precedent that ensures that future development in the City benefit the people of the City, and not just the developers. The City Council must vote 'No' on the development of the Kingsbridge Armory until Related signs a binding Community Benefits Agreement."