Council Torpedoes Kingsbridge Armory, Again
Eliot Brown Dec. 21, 2009, 5:55 p.m.
The Kingsbridge Armory project has been shot down once again by the City Council, which overrode the mayor’s veto of their veto, killing the planned retail mall in the Bronx all over again.
The Council voted on Monday afternoon, 48-1, to override the mayor’s veto, as the body, and particularly most of the Bronx delegation, had become insistent that all retailers inside the mall pay a living wage to their employees, which would have been a new standard in the city.
The developer, the Related Companies, has shown no interest in sticking around for another go at the project, likely leaving the Amory empty for years to come, or at least until the real estate market booms once again. (Already, without living wage, the city was effectively giving away the giant armory to Related, determining that the company needed $13 million in tax breaks to make the project work, and that it would only pay $5 million for the property.)
The vote is a victory for living wage advocates, led by Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union president Stuart Appelbaum, and a major defeat for the Bloomberg administration (which never before suffered such a defeat on a land use issue from the Council) and other unions that backed the project, such as the Building Trades.