Is Time Running Out on Mayor's Armory Plan?
By JORDAN MOSS
less than 10 months left in the administration of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani,
some local officials and activists are saying his plan to turn the vacant
Kingsbridge Armory into a shopping mall is on the critical list.
realize the proposal, which includes a movie theatre, retail shopping, and
a recreational sports facility, the city's Economic Development
Corporation (EDC) must first navigate a six-month procedural gauntlet
known as ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure). The EDC, which is the
lead city agency pushing the proposal, must also complete an environmental
review before the ULURP process begins and certify its ULURP application
with the Department of City Planning.
Adolfo Carrion also said he has heard the developer is balking at the
higher- than-expected cost of redeveloping the armory. Asked if the mayor
had time to carry out his plan, Carrion said, "No." Carrion is considering
forming a Bronx-based task force on the armory.
key player confirmed that there were problems related to the cost of the
redevelopment project. Asked whether his company had secured tenants for
the facility, Bruce Radler, an official with Basketball City, a partner in
the redevelopment plan with RD Management, told the Norwood News, "Tenants
are not the problem. It's just the building and the cost of construction
and everything like that." He did not elaborate and an EDC official did
not return a call seeking comment.
Marcus, who served as counsel to the City Planning Commission for many
years and is now advising the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy
Coalition in its efforts to push the city to include public schools in its
redevelopment plan, also believes that time is running out.
is really a full plate of procedures and it would almost seem that if [the
city] didn't get started very soon, they couldn't expect to finish it
before the end of the year," Marcus said.
members of the coalition want to see the deteriorating landmark
rehabilitated and are pleased that the city has begun restoring the
crumbling roof over the armory's massive drill hall, they believe it would
be a tragedy not to use at least part of the facility to ease the chronic
school space shortage in the area.
believes that the planning process can allow for the inclusion of
alternatives. If the city were to do an environmental review - a more
thorough process than an environmental assessment - then an alternative
proposal that includes a public school component could be considered as
the planning process progresses from the local community board all the way
up the political pecking order to the City Council.
don't have to start with the schools, but if the proposal is designed
properly, it could accommodate adding those schools," Marcus said.
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