Nearing a Deal on Related’s Armory Project [Updated]
Eliot Brown Dec. 9, 2009, 10:27 a.m.
A week ago, things looked pretty bleak for Related Companies and its attempts to win City Council approval of the $323 million development project at the Kingsbridge Armory.
But now the fight over retail development and the use of living wage at the Kingsbridge Armory appears to be nearing a deal, with the framework of an agreement that appears to have the assent of the Council, according to multiple people informed of discussions.
In the framework, the living wage fight–unions and elected officials have said they will not support the project unless there is a requirement that retail jobs get a living wage, or about $10 an hour–would be mitigated by the creation of a fund to subsidize rents and capital fit-out expenses for any tenants that agree to pay all living wage. According to people informed of discussions, the city would put $4 million into that fund, and Related, the designated developer, would give up 45,000 square feet to an entity that would rent out the space, and put the proceeds toward the fund.
But as of late Tuesday night, there was still no resolution on a number of other issues, including what to do with the remaining money should no one use the fund, giving rise to the question of whether a deal would actually come together. Based on requirements related to the rezoning, today is the deadline for a vote, a deadline that would be difficult to push. Thus it’s unclear what can be resolved before the full City Council meets this afternoon.
Update 4:25 p.m.
Observer correspondent Kate McGee reports from City Hall:
Members of the City Council said this afternoon that the vote on Kingsbridge Armory project would be postponed to at least Friday, leaving two days more to strike a deal between the city and developer, the Related Companies. Councilmen Joel Rivera and Tony Avella met with members of the group pushing for living wages, KARA, on the steps of City Hall to rally with the group.
“This is the first time in history we’ve gotten this far with city officials and a developer,” said Mr. Rivera, who has pushed for living wage guarantees, as has the Bronx delegation. “We’re a step further then we were this morning, ” he said, but more needs to be done in the 48 hours before a Council subcommittee meeting Friday morning.