- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.Q6qPkwFC.dpuf New Kingsbridge Armory Task Force, A Team of 'Heavy Hitters,' Diaz Says | Bronx News Networkbronx

Monday, March 22, 2010

New Kingsbridge Armory Task Force, A Team of 'Heavy Hitters,' Diaz Says

Earlier today, Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and City Councilman Fernando Cabrera announced a big-name lineup of "heavy hitters" to serve on a task force that they hope will come up with a new plan to put the massive and long-vacant Kingsbridge Armory to use for the community.

With this task force, which the borough president first mentioned (with very few details) at his State of the Borough speech earlier this month, Diaz and Cabrera are trying to reignite the push to redevelop the Armory, which has been vacant since 1994.

In December, much to Mayor Bloomberg's chagrin, the City Council, with the strong support of Diaz, shot down a proposal to turn the Armory into a retail shopping mall. Less than a month ago, Bloomberg told the Daily News that he doubted the Armory would be developed in his lifetime.

"There's this notion that the armory will stay vacant for the next decade," Diaz said. "But there's no reason why we can’t work together [with the Mayor] and put out another RFP [Request for Proposals].'

The 10-member task force is made up of people with wildly diverse backgrounds, from a community board member to a former Republican state official.

"I wanted a committee with folks that are respected citywide and statewide," Diaz said in an interview this afternoon.

At first glance: mission accomplished.

There's Majora Carter, the Sustainable South Bronx founder and MacArthur Genius award winner who has become synonymous with "green" development and urban environmental justice.

Kathryn Wylde, the president and CEO of the influential nonprofit Partnership for New York City, is also on board. Wylde serves on several boards and advisory groups, including the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the NYC Economic Development Corporation, which manages the Armory and would be in charge of crafting a news RFP.

There's Dr. Steven Safyer, the president and CEO of Montefiore Medical Center, which Diaz pointed out is the largest employer in the entire borough with some 16,000 employees.

Desiree Pilgrim-Hunter, who became the face of the Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment Alliance's (KARA) push for living wage jobs at the Armory, is also on the task force, along with union leaders Jack Kittle and Steven McInnis, real estate developer Jack Rosen, new Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation President Marlene Cintron and Community Board 7 Chair Paul Foster.

There's also, perhaps most surprisingly, Ned Regan, a Republican former state comptroller. Diaz, who campaigned hard for fellow Democrat Bill Thompson in his failed bid last fall to unseat Mayor Bloomberg, said Regan's inclusion is an example of his desire not "to politicize" the task force.

Diaz said he reached out to the head of the EDC, Seth Pinsky, and asked him to serve on the task force, but Pinsky declined.

Still, Diaz insisted the EDC and Mayor's office were not ignoring him and had pledged to work with the task force in creating new ideas for the Armory.

While Diaz appears to be spearheading the Armory push, he's enlisted Cabrera as a partner in the effort. The Armory is in Cabrera's Council district and, this past winter, the new councilman played a key role in derailing the city's Armory shopping mall plan.

“I eagerly look forward to working closely with this distinguished panel to find a viable, successful solution to the development of the Kingsbridge Armory," Cabrera said, in a statement. "The Armory represents a great opportunity for the people of my district who not only want to see the Armory developed, but need it to be. It’s time for us to look at this from every angle, and I see the Armory Task Force as the ideal body to gather the resources necessary to carry this out.”

Diaz said he'll gather the task force at Borough Hall in the near future and get everyone up to speed. From there he wants to tour the building and start setting up regular meetings and generating ideas.

While Diaz said he wouldn't rule out any possibile usage, he did say in his statement that "a retail mall was not the the best use for this space, given the traffic issues and its proximity to the Fordham Road shopping district," which he pointed out is the third biggest commercial corridor in the city.

"Everyone says we lost jobs by killing the Armory project, but what about the jobs that we would have lost from Fordham Road," Diaz said.

As for other possibilities, in his statement, Diaz mentioned "manufacturing, green development, recreation, and other innovative uses."

Diaz said he hoped the task force would come up with some recommendations for a revamped Armory in the next six months or so.


  1. District 14.... We are going to change the face of the Bronx!!!!!!!! Great news for DR. Cabrera!

  2. Mayor Bloomberg... Thanks for the motivation! The Bronx can handle this!!!!! You can even cut the ribbon at the ceremony!!!!!!!

  3. I SEE A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR THE BRONX!!!!!! We are gaining momentum!!!

  4. How About NYU coming back to the Bronx and take over the Armory. Make that whole strip about education. Clinton, Walton, Science, Lehman and PS trailers.
    Come Home NYU and kick start the Bronx again.

    All is forgiven.

    Tom Moore Sr

  5. Please add Monroe College to that list. It's right down the block from the Armory.


Bronx News Network reserves the right to remove comments that include personal attacks, name calling, foul language, commercial advertisements, spam, or any language that might be considered threatening, libelous or inciting hate.

User comments are reviewed by BxNN staff and may be included or excluded at our discretion.

If what you have to say is unrelated to this particular post, please visit our readers' forum.