Kingsbridge was one of the city’s most bitter redevelopment fights in recent years and marked one of very few times during the Bloomberg administration that the City Council has resisted the administration’s economic development effots.
The current RFP would be the same as the one that failed in 2009 after Related, the developers behind the project, would not agree to wage standards for the project. Related won a competitive bid for the project but pulled their after the City Council demanded that any tenants at the new site pay their employees a living wage.
In his prepared remarks tomorrow, the mayor will hail the agreement as an example of city leaders putting aside differences to do what is best for the city.
“We are launching a new effort to bring jobs to the most talked-about empty building in the Bronx: The Kingsbridge Armory. We’ve heard from a variety of interested parties and we are putting aside our differences to do what’s best for the City. That’s what leadership is about. It’s not about a series of running arguments – it’s about getting things done.”
The leader of the opposition to the Kingsbridge effort was Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz, Jr, and this announcement from Mayor Bloomberg signals a clear change of heart on Mr. Diaz’s part, but could also mean that a living wage bill is close at hand.
It is worth noting as well that the agreement comes as the City Council is considering a bill that would require all projects that receive city subsidies like Kingsbridge to pay employees a living wage. When Kingsbridge failed, supporters of the project said that it was unfair to single out one development for wage requirements, which was part of the impetus for a citywide living wage bill.
A source close to the Council’s Living Wage fight slammed BP Diaz for his apparent capitulation on the living wage issue surrounding Kingsbridge:
“The living wage coalition doesn’t need Diaz. He’s not in the City Council and has no bearing on the decision made about the living wage legislation. He has no vote.The coalition wants to pass the bill and not get caught up in debates over individual projects.”
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