Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Kingsbridge Armory Hearing Reminder

There is a public hearing concerning the redevelopment of the Kingsbridge Armory this evening at Lehman College at 6:30 pm.

Here's a good article and accompanying video from NY1.

We know that KARA means well, but BoogieDowner would hate to see this building remain vacant because Related was bullied toward an unrealistic CBA. Workers at any retail stores in the armory should be treated well and compensated at a comparable rate to other retail workers. We all need to realize retail work is not a career. These jobs will be good to introduce (or re-introduce) people to the work force. Outside of the handful of mid-level and upper management, the jobs created will (and should) be stepping stones, rather than forever-jobs.

I'd love to see some community space provided by Related, but when it comes down to it the redevelopment will be centered on retail stores. The fact of the matter is that companies will only invest in a project if there is money to be made. Related is not a philanthropic institution.

Let's hope that a balance is struck between environmentally sensitive construction, new construction and retail jobs, qualified community benefits, and a revitalization of the Kingsbridge neighborhood.



BXJon said...

While I understand your concern - certainly some project seems better than no project - I want to say as a Bronx resident that I support the efforts of the Kingsbridge area residents and allies to ensure the development actually serves the community. They have taken a lot of time and care to think about the specific guidelines that make sense and I agree with them that the request for all tenants to offer a living wage is both realistic and ultimately more sustainable for the community. To simply say these jobs aren't "career jobs" overlooks the reality of the economic situation facing working Bronx residents, for whom there are few if any other options. All jobs should pay a living wage, and certainly any job supported by significant tax benefits and other forms of public support.

Anonymous said...

As a kindly FYI, the Armory is located in Kingsbridge Heights, not Kingsbridge. Kingsbridge refers only to the neighborhood between Riverdale and Kingsbridge Heights and is centered around W. 231st and Broadway.

MargaretBX said...

It's nice to think of retail jobs as transitional jobs, and some of us remember having spent a while working in a retail store in our younger days (for me it was Loehmann's, then on Fordham Road). But when I was at Loehmann's, there were a lot of older women working there who had spent their careers in the place. And when I go to the Broadway Loehmann's, I see a couple of familiar faces. While it may not be a "career job" for the high school or college student who is working there, fact is for a lot of people it IS a career. If working full-time leaves you too poor to live, what happens?

MargaretBX said...

The Armory is a very valuable property. Its been underused to unused for years, but now that its come to the city's attention, it won't be left undeveloped. We shouldn't let ourselves be pushed into supporting an inadequate or inappropriate project for fear that it will be empty.
When a developer gets the largest indoor property in the state for $5 million, a roof that cost the city $30 million and gets HUGE tax breaks, the citizens should get something out of that. If they build a mall there that could be built on a vacant lot, with wages that leave you living on a vacant lot, no schools, no community space, no nothing, what have they done to deserve that?
The Boro President, unlike his predecessor, has chosen to try to win some real community benefits out of the developer. I commend him for it.