Council Committees Vote Down Kingsbridge Plan; Council Votes Against Rezoning (Updated)

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Tom Robbins called it: The city council's land use committee, and its zoning and franchises committee, have voted to reject Related Companies' proposal to redevelop Kingsbridge Armory into a shopping center. The full council is expected to vote against rezoning the Armory for that purpose. (Update: And it has.)

The Planning Commission had approved the Armory plan without a "living wage" requirement demanded by politicians and activists in October. The wage requirement is thought to be the sticking point in today's votes...

The city may re-submit a proposal, but not this one -- nor, says NY1, may it submit one from the same developer.

Tom's item provides the background. Labor leaders, Bronx Beep Ruben Diaz Jr. and other local pols had asked that the proposed shopping center at the Bronx landmark Kingsbridge Armory be required to pay a living wage ($10 an hour with benefits, $11.50 without) to its workers.

Related Companies, the developer, says it can't afford the living wage requirement; the other side says New York would be screwed if it didn't get it, and other cities have mandated similar wage plans for their chain stores.

Bloomberg is annoyed: "We can say one thing for sure: there will be no wages paid at all at the Kingsbridge Armory for the foreseeable future." Union 32BJ SEIU says, "The disappointing setback at the Kingsbridge Armory underscores the need for a city wide policy ensuring fair and consistent wage standards for development projects. City Hall and the City Council should regroup to find a workable solution for developing the site."

John Petro of the Drum Major Institute says, "With this vote the Council establishes a new benchmark for city-sponsored development projects: projects that receive public tax subsidies must create living wage jobs for New York City residents."

Crain's New York Business has responded: "City Council to kill plan for 2,200 Bronx jobs."

A living wage battle with elected city officials fighting developers -- under Bloomberg, yet! Who'd-a thunk it?


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