Broadway Triangle, Kingsbridge Armory Approved (Updated)
October 19th, 2009

<i>The Broadway Triangle from HPD</i>

The Broadway Triangle from HPD

The City Planning Commission approved the redevelopment of the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx and the development of the Broadway Triangle in Brooklyn today — both controversial applications that have seen significant community opposition.

Both of the projects will go to the City Council now, which has 50 days to approve or reject them.

Proposed by one of the city’s largest developers, Related Companies, the Kingsbridge Armory is now one step closer to transforming into a large shopping mall, dubbed the ‘The Shops at the Armory.” Estimated to cost $310 million, the project will host a large supermarket, local shops, a movie theater and recreational space. Community leaders and Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. oppose the plan and have lobbied Related and the city to require the provision of “living wage” jobs on site.

In response to the vote, Diaz said in a prepared statement, We are not asking for anything radical or extreme. We are simply asking that, in a borough that has the highest poverty rate in the nation and has consistently seen the highest unemployment numbers in New York State, Related and their future tenants provide living wage jobs with benefits that allow Bronxites a chance to provide for their families and to build a better life. I am hopeful that the developer will sit down with my office to negotiate this issue and others prior to the City Councils upcoming vote on the project, and I will continue to stand up and do what is right for the people of The Bronx.”

The project was approved by a vote of 8 to 4 with one abstention. Appointees from the Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn borough presidents as well as the public advocate’s office voted against the proposal.

The Bloomberg administration has been a vocal supporter of the project. In a prepared statement, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “The project represents a tremendous vote of confidence and commitment from the private sector, with an investment of $310 million. It will provide significant benefits to the community, including specialty and local retail shops, a public plaza, dedicated community space, restaurants, a recreational facility and a seasonal farmers market, all while creating 1,200 permanent jobs and more than 1,000 construction jobs at a time when we need them most.”

This is not the first time the armory, which takes up an entire city block, has been destined for redevelopment. During the Giuliani era, the castle-like space almost became a sports complex and retail center, but that was defeated because of community opposition.

Both of these projects were the subject of debate during last month’s primary. Maria Baez, who represents the armory area, lost, while Diana Reyna, who represents an area adjacent to the the Broadway Triangle, held onto her seat by a slim margin.

Similarly, the Broadway Triangle is also not without opposition. Reyna, whose district is directly adjacent to the triangle, hinged her re-election candidacy on her opposition to the project. David Yassky, who represents the area, supports it.

The commission approved that project by a vote of 12 to 1, with only the public advocate’s appointee, Karen Phillips, dissenting, according to city planning.

If approved at the City Council, the Broadway Triangle, which comprises 31 acres at the intersection of East Williamsburg and Bushwick, rezoning will eliminate much of the industrial character of the neighborhood and replace it with residential uses. According to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the redevelopment will spur the creation of up to 1,851 new housing units, of which 905 will be affordable. According to the proposal, several properties would be slated for eminent domain.

Typically, the City Council defers to the member who represents the area on whether to support a redevelopment project or rezoning. Reyna, who still has a challenge in next month’s election, will likely try to negotiate for more some sort of community benefit before it comes to the council floor for a vote.

By on October 19, 2009, 4:21 pm
In category: City Hall,Community Development,Gotham City,Governing,Land Use | 2 Comments »

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2 Responses to “Broadway Triangle, Kingsbridge Armory Approved (Updated)”

  1. Burger Says:
    October 19th, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    This is great news for families strugling for survival in Williamsburg. Finaly we will have some affordable housing.

    Thanks to all the commissioners who voted yes.

  2. progresivo Says:
    October 20th, 2009 at 8:59 am

    david yassky is the councilman for this site – not diana reyna. his successor, steve levin, was vito’s chief of staff – so he supports the plan for the broadway triangle.

    the broadway triangle is corruption incarnate. it fails to meet the critical affordable housing needs of local constituents.

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