Monday, April 21, 2008

Regimen at the Armory: Bait and Switch?

As the NY Post reports this morning, the redevelopment of the Kingsbridge Armory has been given over to the Related Company-which brings to mind the count the silver admonition when someone unsavory shows up at a dinner party. The stated plan is as follows: "Under Related's plan, the 575,000-square-foot site will become home to an "anchor" department store, up to 35 smaller shops, a number of restaurants and a movie multiplex. "It's going to be catalytic for the neighborhood," said Seth Pinsky, president of the city's Economic Development Corp."

Whether this is a catalyst or a death knell will depend on the vigilance of the elected officials and the good people over at the Northwest Bronx Community Clergy Coalition-the local community watchdogs on all of the doings at the armory. Put simply: Related can't be trusted and iron clad agreements need to be put into place to insure that there isn't any last minute "modifications" of the developers plans.

In particular before "anchors away," there needs to be a certainty about the kind of anchor store that will be sited at this complex-and with the Bronx's first supermarket, a MortonWilliams Associated, located right across the street we don't need to see any food use or a box store that doubles as a supermarket, a la Wal-Mart or Costco.

The access to the armory site is nowhere near ideal so that any unacceptable uses for the development will be hotly, and successfully contested, given the community's organized role in all of this. We'll be watching this one closely.