The seeds of gentrification are now being sown in the shadow of the longtime empty and cavernous Kingsbridge Armory.
Small businesses near the massive future home of the Kingsbridge National Ice Center are suddenly finding shorter renewal leases and jacked up rent renewals by money hungry landlords.
The center is slated to become the world’s largest ice skating rink, is being compared as a local game changing gold mine.
The Kingsbridge National Ice Center project was announced as the City’s official choice for the Kingsbridge Armory at a press conference in April 2013, which was attended by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Borough President Diaz, City Council Member Fernando Cabrera, KNIC Partners LLC Founder Kevin Parker, New York Rangers hockey legend Mark Messier, Olympic Figure Skating Gold Medalist Sarah Hughes, then New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky and then Community Board #7 Chairman Paul Foster.
Meanwile, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has issued his office’s recommendations concerning the future of the Kingsbridge Armory. The recommendations come as part of the borough president’s charter mandated responsibilities in the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP).
In his recommendations, Borough President Diaz reiterated his support for the project, noting that the Kingsbridge National Ice Center proposal will completely transform the unused structure into a hub of commercial and civic activity. The recommendations come on the heels of a public hearing on the project, which took place on Friday, September 20, and was hosted by Borough President Diaz as part of the ULURP process.
“The Kingsbridge National Ice Center is clearly the right choice for the Bronx. At every opportunity this proposal has been met with near unanimous support, and not one individual or group spoke against the project at my office’s public hearing. Support for the KNIC proposal is strong not just in the Northwest Bronx but in every corner of our borough, and I look forward to this project’s swift approval,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
In April, Kingsbridge National Ice Center Partners (KNIC) and the Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment Alliance (KARA) signed a historic community benefits agreement (CBA) to redevelop the Kingsbridge Armory into a facility committed to serving Bronx residents. That CBA represents a multi-million dollar benefit package for the local community.
For the first time in the history of New York City, a developer has agreed to wall-to-wall living wage jobs for local workers, more than 50,000 square feet of community space, targeted local hiring, opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses, free ice time for local schools, local procurement, sustainable green development and operation, and a business incubator to facilitate wealth creation for local residents. KNIC also plans to create a foundation to establish free after-school ice sports and academic tutoring programs for disadvantaged youth. The program will be modeled after the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation in Philadelphia, which has seen considerable academic and athletic success with those students who participate.
The Community Benefits Agreement has been signed by dozens of neighborhood organizations and community partners representing thousands of residents in the Northwest Bronx that support the project.
Borough President Diaz’s complete ULURP recommendations can be at the following link: http://on.nyc.gov/18njPny.