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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Kingsbridge Armory Showdown

[Updated, 10:32 a.m.] Real quickly, wanted to pass on all the latest Armory news and links this morning.

The Council's zoning and franchise subcommittee will begin a hearing on the Armory mall project at 9:30 a.m. at City Hall.

This is shaping up to be a showdown between the developer, The Related Companies (and other powerful developers with similar interests) who will be backed by the Bloomberg administration and a coalition of Bronx elected officials and community groups. Classic New York City match-up: Manhattan power players versus outerborough upstarts.

The Bronx, represented by Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. (and at least a handful of Bronx Council members), with backing from the retailers union and the Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment Alliance (KARA), wants Related to require their Armory mall tenants to pay a living wage ($10 an hour, plus benefits).

Related says that imposition would kill the project. The city agrees and sees the living wage provision as a precedent they want to avoid.

Diaz met with Related on Saturday and offered a compromise on the living wage issue, but Related wouldn't budge. As a result, this morning, Diaz will tell the Council he will not support the project until Related agrees to the living wage provision.

On the other side, the Daily News reports that Deputy Mayor Robert Lieber will step up and tell the Council that a living wage requirement could "hurt retail development citywide." The headline: "Mayuh Mike on Living Wage: Drop Dead."

Also today, Crain's New York editorializes that the Bronx is shooting itself in the foot by demanding living wage. (It requires a subscription, so no link, but you get the idea: an impositions on the private sector is bad for business.)

Here's the NY Times' story.

Here's the Daily News' story.

And here's a mammoth in-depth overview by Jarrett Murphy of City Limits.

We'll have more from the hearing later today and in the Norwood News on Thursday.


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