Quinn Mum on Budget (update)
May 12th, 2010

Council Speaker Christine Quinn isn’t letting anything slip out about this year’s budget negotiations.

“We’re in the beginning of the budget negotiation process,” said Quinn. “We take the cuts that are proposed to any and all entities in government and outside of government seriously. We’ll be reviewing them and our final decision will be reflected in the budget.”

Quinn was responding to a question on whether the council would move to restore a cut to the public advocate’s office, which is slated to get $1.75 million in fiscal year 2011. The budget for the office in fiscal year 2010 is about $2.8 million, according to the mayor’s executive budget. Much of that did not go to newly minted Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, but to his predecessor Betsy Gotbaum, who failed to curb spending at her office after a 40 percent cut in the budget last year.

In March, the adminsitration infused the public advocate’s office with $850,000 so it could continue to operate.

Last year, the council did not step in to save Betsy. Asked if it would consider stepping in to help out de Blasio, Quinn wouldn’t say.

“I am not going to negotiate the budget in the press,” Quinn said.

De Blasio’s office will also have to compete against other agencies and departments for the council’s budget love. It very well could be the public advocate versus 20 fire companies threatened with closure, 16 day care centers set to shutter and thousands of classrooms without teachers.

UPDATE: de Blasio’s office sent over this comment from the public advocate.

I completely understand that the city is facing tough economic times and all branches of government should cut spending, but it is misleading to say that the Public Advocates Office is receiving the same cuts as other agencies. The Office has seen a 45 percent budget reduction in the past two years, and has lost more than half of its staff. This not the way we should fund a Charter-mandated office.

By on May 12, 2010, 2:20 pm
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Council and Administration Spar Over Wages
May 11th, 2010

The administration says it’s open to sitting down with council members to discuss a bill to require prevailing wages for service employees at city subsidized developments.

But that was after a representative from the administration said the bill would squash economic development, lower property tax revenue, test the fate of senior centers (not to mention the myriad nonprofit capital projects council members hold dearly) and is, in a nutshell, against the city charter.

Needless to say, those so-called negotiations might not go very well.

For the first time, the City Council held a hearing this morning on a measure to require entities that receive more than $10,000 of city assistance annually to pay a prevailing wage for building service employees. The bill could have a huge impact on the city’s service sector, including a wealth of agencies and tenants of city contracted properties. This wide-ranging impact is at the heart of the administration’s opposition.

“It’s quite broad and it affects basically everything the city does,” said Tokumbo Shobowale, chief of staff to Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Bob Lieber. “Rather than do harm, we prefer the deliberative approach,” he added.

The administration would rather the City Council hold off on any wage requirement mandate until it conducts a living wage study, which it is scheduled to complete in 2011.

Supporters of the bill, including 32BJ, saw that preference as a way to delay the proposal.

“The issue of doing a study has been going on for five years,” said 32BJ Executive Vice President Kevin Doyle — who represents service employees and is a major supporter of the bill. “The time to do a study and use that to deter action is passed.”

Council members questioned the administration’s opposition to the bill when its own representative said the city wouldn’t truly know the impact of this type of policy until its study was completed.

“You’re not coming in any sort of spirit of cooperation,” said the bill’s sponsor, Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito. “We are not and should not be in the business of adding poverty wage jobs.” Mark-Viverito said she had approached the administration to sit down and discuss the bill earlier this year, but never received a response.
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By on May 11, 2010, 5:02 pm
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Sick Leave, Wage Standards Coming to City Hall
May 10th, 2010

Tomorrow’s going to be a big day for two issues that have been floating around City Hall for quite some time: paid sick leave and prevailing wage standards.

At 9:30 a.m., council members and 32BJ will rally on the steps of City Hall in support of a bill to require developers that receive city subsidies to pay building service employees a prevailing wage. A hearing will follow at 10 a.m. (For more on wage standards at city-subsidized developments, check out “Subsidies in the City.”)

At 2 p.m., the council will hold a hearing on the paid sick leave bill. More on that issue here.

By on May 10, 2010, 5:33 pm
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Divide in the Charter Commission?
May 10th, 2010

Some Charter Revision Commission members seemed split this morning over whether the commission could thoroughly vet the more serious issues scheduled for review and still get them on the November ballot.

The commission approved a resolution today outlining five issue areas to explore and scheduled public hearings and expert panels on those specific topics for May and June. The issues include term limits, voter participation (including nonpartisan elections), land use (especially the ULURP process), balance of powers (including the roles of community boards, the borough presidents and the City Council) and fiscal responsibility.

Just before approving the resolution, the Rev. Joseph M. McShane proposed an amendment to require the commission to revisit its timeline before proposing anything for November’s ballot. To get anything on the ballot this fall, the commission would have to solidify its proposals by September.

Commission Chair Matthew Goldstein rejected McShane’s amendment, saying it was already “embedded” in the document. The commission, Goldstein said, will have a deliberative process.

After the meeting, Goldstein told reporters, “I’ve always said that this year was a much better opportunity, because there will be more and more active participation because we’re going to have statewide elections. If I wanted to bring something or we wanted to bring something, it would make a lot of sense not to lose that opportunity. The opportunity cost would be higher.”
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By on May 10, 2010, 1:14 pm
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Sour on Domino
May 5th, 2010

Anya Khalamayzer filed this post.

Williamsburg community activists are continuing their efforts to block or change plans that would convert the old Domino Sugar Refinery into a luxury apartment complex. Members of Neighbors Allied for Good Growth, formerly Neighbors Against Garbage, gathered at the group’s offices on Kent Avenue and North 7th Street in Williamsburg last night to discuss how the redevelopment might change their community and the waterfront.

“The Domino Sugar refinery literally used to be the lifeblood of this community,” said tenant organizer Ryan Kuonen, a history buff.

Neighbors Allied members fear that the construction of 2,200 new apartments will displace current tenants, harm the district’s environment and further crowd the L train. As more market-rate apartments follow and bring with them chainstores such as the Duane Reade being constructed on North 3rd and Bedford, the Poles, Latinos, Hasidim, artists and mom-and-pop businesses now in the neighborhood face being forced out.
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By on May 5, 2010, 6:46 pm
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City Planning Responds
May 4th, 2010

Sandy Hornick, director of strategic planning for the Department of City Planning, defends the city’s record on encouraging mass transit use in a comment posted today.

Reacting to Brian Paul’s article accusing the administration of building parking lots while at the same time not doing enough to boost transit use, Hornick writes, “No American location has more transit-oriented development than New York City. Thats why New Yorkers who own cars drive significantly fewer miles than the average American and those who live in our denser, inner city neighborhoods drive even fewer miles. ”

Hornick says that, in his article, Paul embraced ” a fundamental misconception that transit-oriented development means an absolute absence of cars.” Instead, Hornick continues, ” The essence of transit-oriented development is that people have practical choices for travel other than by private automobile. ”

Hornick also cites an array of actions by the Bloomberg administration that, he says, encourage the use of transit, as well as biking and walking. These include rezonings, limits on curb cuts and efforts to make streets more attractive.

Hornick’s comments are the latest entry in a debate sparked by Paul’s article. To read Hornick’s post and the others on parking and auto use, go here.

By on May 4, 2010, 4:30 pm
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Rose Plaza Moving
April 14th, 2010

Stop and smell the roses, looks like Rose Plaza is coming to Williamsburg.

Aaron Short of the Brooklyn Paper has the story here.

By on April 14, 2010, 12:05 pm
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No Deal on Rose Plaza Yet
April 13th, 2010

Things don’t smell so rosy for Brooklyn development Rose Plaza on the River.

The approximately 800-unit Williamsburg mixed use development, nestled along the Brooklyn waterfront and south of the Williamsburg Bridge, was placed on the agenda for tomorrow’s City Council meeting. But according to a spokesperson for the councilmember who represents the area, Stephen Levin, the vote may not necessarily be in its favor.

“There are talks,” said Hope Reichbach, a spokesperson for Levin. But, she added, “nothing is final yet.”

When asked whether the council could reject the project, Reichback said, “It’s possible.”

When it comes to land use, the whole City Council usually defers to the member who represents the area. If he or she supports the project, it’s approved. If he or she doesn’t, well, you get the picture. Rose Plaza has become controversial, said Reichback, because of the amount of affordable units, around 20 percent, and the small number of apartments that could accommodate large families.

The council isn’t under the gun to vote tomorrow. Technically, it has to approve a land use application within 50 days of its approval at the City Planning Commission. City planning ok’d the project on March 8.

It’s not unprecedented for the council to vote against the sitting member. Just last year, the council approved the Dumbo Dock Street project — which happens to be in the same district as Rose Plaza. In that case, former Councilmember David Yassky opposed the project for fear it would obstruct the view of the Brooklyn Bridge.

By on April 13, 2010, 3:59 pm
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Rough Road Ahead
April 13th, 2010

Watch out, there may be some rough roads ahead.

After snowstorms and other winter wear, some New York City streets have come to resemble war-torn terrain and not the byways of a well-kept metropolis.
2277222830_207d43d051_m

Photo (cc) 2008 shoehorn99


Now Gotham Gazette and The Huffington Post want to know what kind of craters mark your streets. Is your block a virtual obstacle course? Has your car or bike tire exploded thanks to an avenue’s neglect?

Send us photos and addresses of neglected roadways in your neighborhood, along with any other lurid details you care to provide, and we’ll report back next week.

By on April 13, 2010, 11:37 am
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Liu Convenes Task Force on Public Benefits (update)
March 19th, 2010

In an effort to make sure the public receives benefits when the city gives out public subsides, Comptroller John Liu convened the first meeting of a task force this morning that will look into reforming the process of economic development.

Liu announced the task force in February, saying in a press release at the time: “It is simply common sense to have clear standards that ensure benefits for the public when private developers receive benefits from the public.”

Initially charged with looking at community benefit agreements, the task force has expanded its scope to all deals that receive public subsidies, according to Sharon Lee, the comptroller’s spokesperson. They will report back to the comptroller in six months with recommendations, she said.

Over the years, community benefits agreements, which are unregulated, have become standard practice for development deals. The agreements are struck between community groups and stakeholders and developers, often quelling community opposition and ensuring a development moves forward. They are outside of the land use process.

Since the City Council defeated Kingsbridge last year, some officials have questioned the use of public subsidies and are promising to scrutinize projects that receive public benefits.

UPDATE: Here are the co-chairs of the task force:

JOHN “JACK” AHERN President of the New York City Central Labor Council (AFL-CIO)
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By on March 19, 2010, 10:00 am
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A Regional Market at South Street Seaport
March 18th, 2010

seaport

Photo (cc) 2006 David Reeves

Is the New York City Economic Development Corp. open to Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s proposal to create a regional market at the South Street Seaport?

Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky thinks so.

“We definitely agree that a regional market is a good use for the South Street Seaport,” Pinsky said this afternoon at a City Council budget hearing.

The corporation and seaport owner, General Growth Properties, had been working on a redevelopment plan for the downtown shopping area for several years. That plan included a specialty food market.

But when Properties filed for bankruptcy in April of 2009 — predominantly an effect of the real estate bust — the redevelopment proposal was abruptly put on hold.

Now that General Growth Properties appears to be emerging from bankruptcy, Pinksy expects the project to move forward. A hearing on the developer’s exit from bankruptcy will be later this spring.
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By on March 18, 2010, 3:10 pm
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Broadway Walkway Here to Stay
February 11th, 2010

For all you Times Square revelers, the Bloomberg administration is going to give you a little more room to stretch your legs — permanently.
broadway
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan announced this morning the pedestrian plazas at Times and Herald Squares were here to stay. When the plazas were first announced in February last year, the administration said they would be made permanent if they improved traffic flow on 6th and 7th avenues and if it made the areas safer for pedestrians.

The results, according to the administration, will allow tourists and New Yorkers alike to sit back and relax in the plazas colorful furnishings for years to come.

According to the Department of Transportation, travel speeds for trips north in West Midtown improved by 17 percent from fall 2008 to 2009, compared with 8 percent in East Midtown. For trips south in West Midtown, travel speeds fell 2 percent. East Midtown had an increase of 3 percent, according to the transportation department.

Before this morning’s announcement, some speculated that the results would not be good enough to keep the plazas. A report in the New York Times said officials found the results “disappointing.”

Disappointing or not, Times and Herald Squares have officially been taken over by pedestrians.

Pictured above is Times Square now and below is a video from the transportation department about the project.

By on February 11, 2010, 11:56 am
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Libraries Lose Hours
February 4th, 2010

librariessm

Photo (cc) 2007 timetrax23

The New York Public Library announced this morning it would reduce hours at two-thirds of its locations thanks to a nearly $6 million mid-year budget cut.

It will keep all of its locations open six days a week, but five of nine locations will no longer be open on Sunday. On average, neighborhood locations will be open 45 hours per week — a decrease from an average of 51 hours.

These service reductions are from cuts to the city’s fiscal year 2010 budget, which ends in June. Mayor Michael Bloomberg released his preliminary fiscal year 2011 budget last week. In that, the New York Public Library would be cut another $8.2 million.

The unfortunate reality is that more cuts loom on the horizon, and unless there are substantial changes to city and state financial plans, we will be forced to make extremely difficult choices over the next two years, said New York Public Library President Dr. Paul LeClerc in a prepared statement. We will make every effort to ensure that any further cuts are as painless as possible for our patrons, who need our services such as job search assistance and free classes more than ever.

Of the library system’s six networks, the only one unaffected is Staten Island.

The new hours will take effect Feb. 16. Here is list of all the changes.

By on February 4, 2010, 11:56 am
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Musical Chairs
January 19th, 2010

As promised, today starts the seat swapping in the Bloomberg administration.

For the next three weeks, first deputy commissioners will be assigned to another agency in the hopes of breaking down bureaucratic barriers. The idea was integral to the mayor’s inauguration address on New Year’s Day. Some assignments have been done with specific policy proposals in mind, such as the swap between Department of Consumer Affairs and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, who are tasked with focusing on foreclosure prevention.

Here are the assignments:

Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) — DOE
Administrative Justice Coordinator (AJC) — CCPC
Business Integrity Commission (BIC) — DSNY
Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) –CUNY
City University of New York (CUNY) — CEO
Citywide Events Coordination and Management (CECM) — NYC & Co
Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) — CHR
Commission for the United Nations Consular Corps and Protocol (UN) — MOIA
Commission on Human Rights (CHR) — CCRB
Commission on Women’s Issues (CWI) — MOCDV
Commission to Combat Police Corruption (CCPC) — AJC
Community Affairs Unit (CAU) — CECM
Criminal Justice Coordinator (CJC)– Law
Department for the Aging (DFTA) — MOPD
Department of Buildings (DOB) — NYCHA
Department of City Planning (DCP) — HDC
Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) — SCA
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) — HPD
Department of Corrections (DOC) — DHS
Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) — EDC
Department of Design and Construction (DDC) — DCLA
Department of Education (DOE) — Parks
Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) — DOF
Department of Finance (DOF) — MOO
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DoHMH) — DOC
Department of Homeless Services (DHS) — HHC
Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) — DCA
Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) — MOFTB
Department of Investigation (DOI) — MOCS
Department of Parks and Recreation (Parks) — DEP
Department of Probation (DOP) — ACS
Department of Sanitation (DSNY) — BIC
Department of Small Business Services (SBS) — HRA
Department of Transportation (DOT) — DDC
Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) — DOP
Design Commission (Design) — DOT
Economic Development Corporation (EDC) — SBS
Fire Department* (FDNY) — NYPD*
Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) — CAU
Housing Development Corporation (HDC) — LPC
Human Resources Administration (HRA) — DoHMH
Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) — DOB
Law Department (Law) — DOI
Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) — DFTA
Mayor’s Office of Contract Services (MOCS) — CJC
Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre, and Broadcasting (MOFTB) — DoITT
Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) — UN
Mayor’s Office of Operations (MOO) — DCAS
Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs (MOVA) — CWI
Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence (MOCDV) — MOVA
New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) — DCP
NYC & Company (NYC & Co) — DYCD
Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) — TLC
Office of Emergency Management* (OEM) — FDNY*
Office of Labor Relations* (OLR) — OMB*
Office of Management and Budget* (OMB) — OLR*
Police Department* (NYPD) — OEM*
School Construction Authority (SCA) — Design
Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) — OATH

Those with an asterisk are participating in the second phase of the program starting February 1.

By on January 19, 2010, 2:32 pm
In category: City Hall,Civil Rights,Community Development,Economy,Education,Electoral Politics,Environment,Governing,Housing,Immigrants,Land Use,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Parks,Transportation,Waterfront | 2 Comments »

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Signature Theatre Finds a Home
December 22nd, 2009

theater

After years of struggling to get on stage somewhere near Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan, the Signature Theatre Company has found a home in Hell’s Kitchen just mere blocks from Broadway, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and members of the company announced this morning.

On the still-cement ground floor of a building under construction on 10th Avenue, stars (yes, Maggie Gyllenhaal was spotted!) officials and theater-lovers gathered to unveil the company’s new address — to be known as the Signature Center. The theater, which will have an interior designed by the architect Frank Gehry, will be just one part of the building developed by the Related Companies. The entire 59-story structure will also include a 800 new housing units, 160 of which will are for low-income families, and it comes with a $800 price tag.

The company’s space will be comprised of three distinct theaters, rehearsal studios, a cafe, bookstore and administrative offices.

Following September 11, 2001, the company planned to relocate to a Gehry-designed building in Lower Manhattan at the site of the Ground Zero reconstruction. They were slated to also share the space with the Joyce Theater. But in 2007, the company accepted an offer to relocate — with the city’s help — because the shared space proposal proved to be cost prohibitive.

The city is contributing $25 million to the theater’s construction.

Today, donning a hard hat and nearly drowned out by the sounds of construction workers hammering and drilling overhead, Bloomberg dipped his hands in cement to solidify the announcement. And then the crowd applauded (though there was no standing ovation).

“Theater makers leave only three things behind: legends, play scripts and from time to time, when the economy’s good, landlords get it, when the mayor and City Council support it, buildings,” said Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Tony Kushner, whose works will comprise the company’s 2010-11 season.

The theater is slated to open in 2012.

By on December 22, 2009, 2:15 pm
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Air Pollution Borough by Borough
December 15th, 2009

Image provided by the mayor's office

Image provided by the mayor's office


The Bloomberg administration released its first ever street-level air survey chronicling the air quality in every borough. The survey showed that Manhattan’s high traffic areas have the worst air quality.

The survey compiles data, including measurements of particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and elemental carbon, gathered from 150 sites throughout the city last winter. The survey was conducted as part the mayor’s PlaNYC 2030 — his vision for sustainability in the five boroughs.

In a prepared statement, the mayor, who is at the United Nations climate change summit in Copenhagen, said, We are collecting air samples around the city at ground level so we can measure the air New Yorkers breathe while walking on the streets. This study clearly demonstrates the impacts that pollution from vehicles and certain oil-burning boilers has on our neighborhoods and it shows us that the most densely populated areas are also the most polluted.”

The level of pollutants correlated with the level of traffic and building fuel use, according to the survey. All of these contaminants are associated with health problems, like asthma and emphysema.

Just last week, the City Council approved legislation to force large buildings in the city to conduct energy audits every decade. When first introduced, the bill would have also required those buildings to implement the audits’ recommendations, but it was retooled following criticism by property owners. It does require those buildings to conduct maintenance to reduce their energy consumption.

By on December 15, 2009, 6:14 pm
In category: City Hall,Community Development,Electoral Politics,Environment,Gotham City,Governing,Health,Land Use,Law,nextNY,sustainability | 1 Comment »

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Kingsbridge Vote About Traffic, Jobs?
December 14th, 2009

riveradiaz
Pictured above are Councilmember Joel Rivera and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. at a rally following the council’s vote.

In a rare move, the City Council rejected a proposal from the Bloomberg administration and developer The Related Companies to redevelop a massive armory in the northwest Bronx this morning.

After weeks of debate, the council voted against the proposal, which would have turned the Kingsbridge Armory into a large shopping mall, by a vote of 45 to 1, with one abstention. The project was effectively toppled by a disagreement between the community, the administration and the developer over whether to require the mall’s retailers to pay a living wage, which the community defined as $10 an hour. Today the City Council, led by its Bronx delegation, sided with the community.

For months the subject of a living wage monopolized the discussion over the Kingsbridge Armory. But any living wage settlement would have likely been agreed to in a community benefits agreement, which is not subject to City Council approval. Therefore at its meeting today, council members cited other areas of the developer’s land use application that did fall within their purview, like traffic, as a reason why the proposal was rejected.

“We have been very clear that there were a number of issues, many have been traffic and environmental, germane to the land use process, some separate from the land use process, which often happens in land use negotiations,” said Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

“Obviously none of them were resolved,” said Quinn.

Today was the final day for the council to act on the project. The council has 50 days after a project is approved by the City Planning Commission to either reject or accept it. The armory rejection will now go to the mayor, who is expected to veto it. Quinn said there were enough votes in the City Council to override a mayoral veto.

The project, according to the administration, would have brought thousands of temporary and permanent jobs to the area.

The mayor, who is at the United Nations’ climate change conference in Copenhagen, issued the following response after the council’s vote:
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By on December 14, 2009, 3:06 pm
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Kingsbridge Armory at the Council today
December 9th, 2009

UPDATE: According to Councilmember Joel Rivera, the council is worried about 432 potential employees at the Kingsbridge Armory project who would probably not receive living wages. In total, the project is expected to create about 1,000 permanent jobs.

Rivera said the Bronx delegation is considering a proposal to use the funds from the sale of the armory, which he says is $4 million, toward subsidizing these workers’ wages.

This project has already received millions in city subsidies.

UPDATE: A vote on The Related Companies Kingsbridge Armory has been delayed at least until Friday and possibly Monday.

Council members are still negotiating with the developer and the administration over whether to require employers pay living wages at the site, which Related plans to turn into a large shopping mall.

The project must be voted on by Monday. If there is no vote by then, the land use review project would have to start over.

All afternoon members of the Bronx community have rallied on the steps of City Hall, calling for the living wage mandate. Councilmember Oliver Koppell, whose district abuts the project, said the major disagreement continues to be a living wage.

“You get the best you can,” said Koppell. “We’re getting closer on the issue of paying people a living wage.”

But not everyone sees the living wage requirement as a reason to delay the project.

“Every job is not designed to support a family, some are designed for people that are retired or kids after school,” said Councilmember Peter Vallone.

The City Council is set to determine the fate of the Bronx’s Kingsbridge Armory — a mammoth landmark that developer, The Related Companies, wants to turn into a shopping mall.

At the center of the controversial project is a proposal supported by the community and multiple council members to require the developer pay living wages at the site.

Right now, the City Council’s Bronx delegation is holed up in a small room in City Hall debating the deal. Interesting to note, Councilmember Maria Baez, who was voted out in September, hasn’t been spotted. Her predecessor, Fernando Cabrera, was seen entering the negotiation room.

More to come later, and for more on the project go here.

By on December 9, 2009, 1:56 pm
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Brooklyn Bridge Park: The City Steps In
December 8th, 2009

Gotham Gazette parks topic page writer Anne Schwartz filed this post.

Promising to spend an additional $55 million on the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge Park, the city is proposing to take over responsibility for the project from the financially strapped state. Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe discussed the proposal at a town hall meeting last night sponsored by State Sen. Daniel Squadron, who was elected in part because of his opposition to the existing plan to bookend the park with high-rise condos.

While many in the overflowing room came hoping that city control would mean a fresh look at the design and funding mechanism, the city’s proposal — while adding active recreation and another access point, committing to building the park ahead of the development, and opening the door to more community involvement — looked very much like the current controversial plan.

Brooklyn residents have been asking for a park and active recreation on the downtown Brooklyn waterfront for 25 years, and many were angry when the final plan by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corp., the city-state authority overseeing the project, greatly altered the original design developed with extensive community input. The most controversial change was the inclusion of residential towers to meet the requirement — set as a condition for creating the park — that upkeep would be paid for by commercial development on part of the site.

Squadron said he had asked the city to bring its proposal to the public while still in the discussion stage and added that he hoped the meeting would be a step toward “lowering some of the temperature,” and bringing people together for more of a shared vision. Several speakers in the audience made a point of noting that what they heard and saw at the meeting represented a step in the right direction, even though they would like to see further changes.

Audience member Dorothy Siegel summed up the reaction of the crowd with this comment to the commissioner: “We are hoping that you will take back to the mayor the overwhelming sentiment that we do not want housing and we want active recreation.”

By on December 8, 2009, 5:07 pm
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New London's Troubles
November 11th, 2009

The possibility that the Atlantic Yards project could become a parking lot was a one of the criticisms leveled against the development by its critics last year. And it seems that similar circumstances actually unfolded in New London, Conn., the location of the landmark eminent domain case that effected the nation. Redevelopment plans for the area didn’t work out as planned and the site is left overgrown.

Now, Pfizer, the focus of the city’s economic development plans — and of its home condemnation — will be closing up shop there, adding to the fallow area’s troubles. “The announced closing of the New London site eight years after it opened to great fanfare came as a blow to a city that had counted on Pfizer’s multimillion-dollar facility to help revive its fortunes,” reports the Hartford Courant.

By on November 11, 2009, 3:13 pm
In category: Economy,Land Use,Law | Comments Off on New London's Troubles

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