Vol. 18, No. 2 Jan. 27 - Feb. 9, 2005


State Plays Role in Guard Shift
Connected Developer May Help


The key to progress on the Kingsbridge Armory’s redevelopment appears to now reside with the state. While the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) technically oversees the development, advocates are now pressuring state officials to find a suitable location for the Armory’s two remaining National Guard units.
“We’re trying to get the governor to visit the armory,” said Assemblyman Jose Rivera earlier this month. Governor Pataki is indeed aware of the issues surrounding the project, according to Rivera.
EDC has said repeatedly that it is in discussion with the state to find a suitable location for the Guard’s 300 members, but those talks have not yet borne fruit. The Guard, now housed in a facility behind the armory, needs an inexpensive 50,000-square-foot space where large vehicles can be repaired. “They can’t afford a lot,” said Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión last month.
Peter Fine, a real estate developer from Riverdale, is reportedly being recruited by advocates and officials as a possible developer for the Guard’s space. Since 1999, Fine’s Atlantic Development Group has built several affordable housing projects in the Bronx through the use of city tax abatements and other state subsidies.
The Richman Group, a real estate developer that has partnered with the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition on their proposal, has been in discussions with Fine about working together on the project. Bill Taylor, Richman’s president, wouldn’t say specifically what role Fine would play, but did refer to the Guard issue.
“There’s a long list of things that need to be done before we can move the armory along, and one of those things is the National Guard,” Taylor said. Richman has not previously worked with Atlantic Development.
Fine did not return calls seeking comment.
Ronn Jordan of the Coalition, which is advancing the currently favored development proposal, thought Fine would be very helpful. “Given his experience, he probably has ideas about where to house the Guard,” Jordan said. The Coalition’s proposal includes a mix of retail, education and recreational space.
In addition to real estate experience, Fine is well connected. He donated handsomely to the Republican National Convention when it came to New York last year, and also steered $3,400 to Rivera’s reelection fund last summer, according to state records. Fine and his wife both contributed $3,000 to Naomi Rivera’s successful Assembly bid last year.
Jose Rivera, who is Naomi’s father, said he had met Fine in the past, but wouldn’t comment if he was working with him on the armory.
Coalition members met with Fine last month, and they are now following up with him. “This guy knows how to get things done,” Jordan said.

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