Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Kapps Off to KARA

Kudos to the NY Daily News' Bob Kappstatter who opines today that Related Cos should provide for a living wage in the "Shops at the Armory," or simply take a hike: "It's time the city - led by the Bronx delegation in the City Council - draws a line in the sand and tells Related it needs to accept that make-or-break provision in a community benefits agreement now being hammered out by Borough President Ruben Diaz and community stakeholders. We can't see any great loss if the armory sits vacant until another developer - maybe one of the two that lost out in the original bid process - comes back to the table and accepts the terms. Oh, and, by the way, George Steinbrenner never did move his team to Jersey."

Good for Kappy-who points out that favorite son Related has already gotten fat off the city's sweet largess: "Now comes Related Cos., with millions of dollars in tax breaks if the City Council approves its plan to develop the armory into a shopping mall. This is the same developer that got a sweetheart deal from the city to build the new Gateway mall at the old Bronx Terminal Market. Unlike the armory in the heart of a local shopping district, Gateway is isolated enough to keep from killing off local retailers."

Which is precisely the point we have made-there will be considerable collateral damages if this mall does get built, particularly if a supermarket is also included. Given that basic truth, the retail jobs that are eventually provided must be ones of substance. That's the only way this project has any public purpose. If that's a deal breaker for the corporate supplicant, well, ain't that a shame.