PUBLISHED BY MOSHOLU PRESERVATION CORPORATION

Vol. 19,  No.  10 May 18 - 31,  2006



     
 

‘We’re Ready to Get Rolling!’
Deputy Mayor Vows Armory RFP by August

By JORDAN MOSS

Dan Doctoroff, Mayor Bloomberg’s go-to guy for development projects, said a request for proposals (RFP) would be issued in August during a May 4 tour of the Kingsbridge Armory.

That would, for the first time, take the project to the level where developers could formally offer their visions for the landmark’s redevelopment.

“I know what you’ll see over the next couple of months is a real burst of activity, ultimately to the issuance of an RFP, which we’d like to do by mid-August,” Doctoroff, a deputy mayor, told the Norwood News after the tour. “We’ll work together over that period of time to define the parameters of the RFP.”

Doctoroff, who appeared upbeat about the project, announced that the city would form a task force to craft the RFP.

While he didn’t forecast precisely what elements would end up in the final redevelopment, he did say that the two top priorities were school space and recreation facilities, according to participants in the tour (press were not invited). Those match the priorities favored by the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, which has developed its own proposal for the facility, and many other community residents and elected officials.

The people who took part in the tour, which was organized by Assemblyman Jose Rivera, want to participate in the process of crafting the RFP.

“Because [the task force] has the responsibility to decide what the guidelines are, we want to make sure we’re involved in the process [and] make sure that the community benefit principles fit into the RFP,” said Wendoly Marte, 17, a college student who lives a couple of blocks from the armory and has long been active with Sistas and Brothas United, a youth group affiliated with the Coalition.

Those principles, developed last year by the Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment Alliance (KARA), an umbrella group of community groups and institutions organized by the Coalition, include the construction of four small schools, creating local jobs, and providing a mix of retail, entertainment and recreation space.

Marte said KARA and the Coalition want to meet with Doctoroff and Bloomberg before the RFP is issued.

Meanwhile, a first meeting with the city to prepare for the RFP was scheduled to take place on May 17, Coalition leaders said.

Finding a suitable site for two National Guard units that still occupy two buildings on the site was widely considered to be the primary stumbling block to an RFP being issued.

But Doctoroff did not indicate if identifying a site needed to precede the release of the RFP. Coalition organizers say they’d like whoever gets the job of transforming the facility to find a new home for the Guard.

Asked if moving the National Guard is the responsibility of the state rather than the city, Doctoroff said, “We have better access to potential other sites, so we’re going to have to do it together.”

This week, two developers, Bill Traylor of the Richman Group, a firm that has worked closely with the Coalition on its development proposal, and Peter Fine, who has close ties with Rivera, met with members of Community Board 7. Fine may be interested in developing the new Guard site. Board 7 chair Greg Faulkner said a site in the Zerega section of the Bronx was raised as a possibility at the meeting.

Faulkner said that that he has not yet heard from the city regarding the creation of the task force, but that he expected the Board would play a significant role.

Thirteen years have passed since the state first vacated the Armory and ceded it to the state. Residents hope they can take the city at its word and that real action may be on the horizon.

“We’re ready to get rolling!” Doctoroff announced at the end of his tour.


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