City Council votes down Kingsbridge plan, draws ire from lawmakers

The New York City Council voted against the proposed Kingsbridge Armory development today, a $310 million project that would have refurbished the unoccupied building for use as a retail hub in the Bronx. Developer Related Companies had been tapped for the plan, but the council voted down the proposal 45-1. Although the failure to reach a living wage agreement with the developer had been a key issue in the weeks of debate leading up to the City Council vote, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn cited traffic issues as integral to the decision to vote against the project. “The Bronx community surrounding the armory is an area with significant traffic problems, and the impact this project will have cannot be underestimated,” Quinn said. “Even after numerous discussions, there continues to be an immitigable traffic impact. We cannot approve a project that will bring more people to an already overcrowded area and cause further strain to this community.” This is the first time that the council has voted against a major Bloomberg administration proposal, according NY1. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he was disappointed with the outcome. “Today’s vote against the Kingsbridge Armory redevelopment project means the loss of a rare opportunity to bring thousands of jobs and more than $300 million in private investment to the Bronx,” Bloomberg said. “From early in the planning process, we made clear we would never add mandatory wage requirements which would make the project unviable, and that was a line we were never going to cross.” Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of the Partnership for New York City, expressed equal disappointment, referencing the jobs lost in the plan’s defeat. “It should serve as a warning that excessive government mandates on private employers will ultimately cost the city a lot of jobs,” Wylde said. “This is especially true in industries like retail, where margins are too slim to meet political expectations.” Richard Anderson, president of the New York Building Congress, echoed the sentiment. “The City Council has consigned the Kingsbridge Armory to many more years — and possibly decades — as an abandoned eyesore,” Anderson said. TRD

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