19, No. 11
June 1 - 14, 2006
Zerega Site May Hold Key to Armory
By ALEX KRATZ
A large industrial property in the southeast Bronx has emerged as
a potential new home for two National Guard units now housed in the annex
behind the Kingsbridge Armory.
According to a military spokesman, developers have submitted a proposal to
move the units to a site in the Zerega industrial district south of
Westchester Square that, as of right now, appears to meet the military’s
The Zerega site was mentioned by two developers at a small meeting with
Community Board 7 members two weeks ago. Bill Traylor of the Richman Group
and Peter Fine of Atlantic Development are considering buying the property,
according to Board 7 chair Greg Faulkner, as part of a larger plan to
redevelop the armory.
In an interview, Traylor acknowledged that his firm and Fine’s were looking
at a site in Zerega. He said he would provide further details at a May 30
meeting of Community Board 7’s Land Use Committee.
Military spokesman Kent Kisselbrack said the Zerega proposal “appeared to
meet requirements,” which includes eight to 10 acres of land and 30,000
square feet of building space. Federal regulations stipulate that the
outpost must be 148 feet from a fence.
Relocating the Guard units has been the primary obstacle blocking
redevelopment of the massive military complex, which is vacant aside from
the annex buildings. Local officials and community leaders want to build
four smalls schools in place of the annex structures along with a mix of
recreation space and retail and entertainment outlets in the drill hall and
head house, as the two main buildings are known. The Richman Group has
worked closely with the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition in
developing a proposal that includes those priorities.
Ideally, the two National Guard units – the 145th Maintenance Company and
the 258th Field Artillery Unit – would like to stay in the Bronx,
“This is a community-based outpost and we’d like it to remain community
based,” he said.
On May 4, Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff toured the armory and vowed to begin
the request for proposal (RFP) process by mid-August. The city’s Economic
Development Corporation is in the process of forming a task force to shape
On a break from contentious budget negotiations in Albany, local assemblyman
Jose Rivera said that he’s pleased with the progress being made on the
“Things are beginning to move,” Rivera said from his cell phone.
A week after Doctoroff’s armory tour, which Rivera arranged, the assemblyman
said he called Governor Pataki and implored him to continue to work on
building momentum for the development project. In response, according to
Rivera, Pataki said that the National Guard is ready to leave.
“I told the governor, ‘As soon as you finish up work in Albany, you can come
make the announcement [in the Bronx] yourself.’”
The new proposed site for the Guard units – at Zerega Avenue and Hermany
Avenue – would be perfect, Rivera said.
“There is a lot of vacant land there,” Rivera said. “Put it there and it
doesn’t bother anybody.”
At the site, across the street from a gigantic New York Sanitation
Department facility, is a building and lot controlled by Hermany Farms, a
conglomeration of dairy and poultry companies. Amid the hum of refrigeration
units, preparations for departure are under way. A Penske moving truck sits
in front of a loading dock. At the same time, four employees of Westco, a
Westchester company that specializes in dairy processing equipment, are
slowly clearing out the dusty building.
No one seemed to know exactly what’s going to happen to the old plant, but
certainly, change is in the air.
What does all the buzz surrounding the Zerega site mean?
“It means the city and state are really looking into it,” Rivera said.
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