In a press release sent out this morning, the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition announced what it called a ‘historic’ community benefits agreement with the partners with the Kingsbridge National Ice Center, one of two developers vying to take over the long-vacant Kingsbridge Armory.
Still lots of details to parse and lots of questions to pursue, but if enacted, the agreement would be the first signed of its kind in New York City by an established community group and a developer.
Of course, the city’s Economic Development Corporation, which is managing the Armory project for the city, has still not announced its pick for the project and have said they are still negotiating terms with the ice center partners and Young Woo & Associates, a Manhattan-based design firm that wants to turn the Armory into a mixed-use futuristic market with retail, recreation and business incubator space.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., State Senator Gustavo Rivera and Councilman Oliver Koppell are among some of the local officials that endorsed the ice center proposal, which would turn the Armory into the world’s largest ice sports complex, with nine Olympic-sized ice rinks and one major 5,000-seat arena. The developers, headed by former Deutsche Bank executive Kevin Parker, have touted a free after-school ice skating program for youth that would be implemented when the ice center opens for business.
Parker’s group was not quoted in the press release. Neither were anyone on Community Board 7, which, earlier this year, helped the coalition draft an outline and come up with principles for a potential community benefits agreement.
Councilman Fernando Cabrera, whose district includes the Armory, has said he wouldn’t support the project without a viable community benefits agreement. It’s unclear what he thinks about this agreement.
Stay tuned. Below is the text of the press release:
The Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition (NWBCCC) and the Kingsbridge National Ice Center Partners (KNIC) sign an unprecedented community benefits agreement to redevelop the Kingsbridge Armory into a facility committed to serving Bronx residents. “This Community Benefits Agreement is substantial and represents many years of hard work and determination around the Kingsbridge Armory. It will ensure that the needs of local residents are at the forefront,” said Sandra Lobo-Jost, President, NWBCCC.
This Community Benefits Agreement 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, over 50,000 square feet of community space, targeted local hiring, opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses, free ice time for Title 1 schools, local procurement, sustainable green development and operation, and a business incubator to facilitate wealth creation for local residents. As a faith leader who has served the NW Bronx community for over 20 years, Father Joseph Girone, O.S.A., Pastor of St. Nicholas of Tolentine Catholic Church said, “the strength of our Community Benefits Agreement will ensure that the Kingsbridge
Armory is a beacon of light for our people that will shine for generations to come. We look forward to working with our local elected officials and community board to see this come to fruition.”
NWBCCC is joined by almost 30 signatories as well as community partners representing thousands of residents in the Northwest Bronx that support the project. Bill Sloan, owner of Morton Williams Supermarket, which employs more than 450 Bronx residents at their 12 stores, said “because of this historic Community Benefits Agreement the redevelopment of the Armory will certainly be an economic engine for our community, a win-win that all should support.”