Armory Hurdle Still Not Cleared
By ALEX KRATZ
Though it was slated to be released Sept. 18, the Kingsbridge Armory Request for Proposals, or RFP, has been delayed again as the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) continues to work on language for the project’s design guidelines.
As of press time on Tuesday, Sept. 19, members of the Armory Task Force, an advisory group of elected official and community representatives, were still waiting to look at one last draft of the RFP before it’s released to the public.
An EDC spokeswoman said the final version would be released “early this week.”
The previous draft, which the Task Force previewed on Aug. 29, contained some encouraging language from the standpoint of community activists, who said they were pleasantly surprised at how much the EDC had incorporated community input into the RFP. Most notably, the RFP draft spelled out preferences for contractors who brought in the most living wage jobs, which has been defined by the city as $10 an hour, plus $1.50 an hour in benefits.
On the downside, the draft did not guarantee a certain amount of community space and called for the building of only two schools with 1,000 seats. The Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment Alliance (KARA), which is spearheaded by the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition but is endorsed by several local officials and community organizations, has been adamant about its desire for four small schools and 2,000 seats to reduce overcrowding.
KARA leaders hope that EDC will stick to the good parts of the draft and amend the parts they don’t like.
Regardless of the outcome, KARA is planning to hold a rally on Sept. 30 to celebrate completion of the first stage in the redevelopment process – the release of an RFP. KARA officials say there is reason to rejoice, but big hurdles remain. Once a developer is chosen, possibly by next June, local leaders involved in the process say it will be up to the community to mobilize and negotiate a strong Community Benefits Agreement.
The project must also get through the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), which will involve every level of city government beginning at Community Board 7.
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