Testimony of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
at the City Planning Commission RE: Kingsbridge Armory
October 9, 2013
Good day, Chairperson Burden and your fellow commissioners. I am here today to offer my enthusiastic support for the Kingsbridge Armory National Ice Center and the four ULURP applications, which when approved will facilitate construction of one of the most outstanding ice arenas in the world. This project will transform an iconic landmark into a destination for thousands, all while revitalizing an entire community and offering permanent, “living wage” jobs for Bronx residents.
This project represents the culmination of a comprehensive participatory process that included all those who have an interest in the future of the Kingsbridge Armory. These parties include representatives of the surrounding community, the borough’s elected officials, the Mayor’s Office and the city’s Economic Development Corporation, as well as those associated with the Kingsbridge National Ice Center’s development team.
There are numerous statistics and figures that can back up my strong support. This project will bring $300 million in investment to restore and preserve this historic Bronx landmark, including the reconstruction of the entire drill hall floor.
170 full-time positions will be created at the Kingsbridge Armory. And the jobs created at this project will pay a living wage. In addition, this project will create 885 construction related jobs on site, plus a total of 2,700 off-site jobs as a consequence of its development;
At least 580,000 annual visits to the Kingsbridge Armory are anticipated, which will generate new economic activity approximating $42 million annually.
My enthusiasm for this proposal and what it will offer the Bronx and our city is only surpassed by my support for the Community Benefit Agreement that has been achieved. This agreement is historic, as it sets to paper benefits I believe establish a gold standard for all future projects that rely on the disposition and use of public sector assets.
Key components of this agreement include that 51 percent of those working at the Armory will be Bronx residents, and that employers shall award 25 percent of the funds spent on employees performing construction, to minority and women/owned Bronx businesses.
Beyond these stipulations, the developer has also pledged to provide an initial monetary contribution of $8 million towards developing and building out the 50,000 square feet of community facility space, for an annual rent of $1. In addition, the developer will provide $1 million in annual ice time for local schools and community organizations, as well as $250,000 for capital improvements to neighboring properties and local businesses. The developer has also entered into a historic profit-sharing agreement with the local community, and will contribute one percent of profit realized up to $25 million, or two percent of profit realized for more than $25 million, to these local organizations.
I am also especially proud to note that this entire project will be environmentally sound, as a LEED Silver designation is being sought.
My administration is very proud of what the entire proposal represents. It is a project that broadens the profile of the Bronx as a place where new ideas can become reality, where new approaches can bring about better results. I therefore recommend approval of these applications and by so doing continue to endorse the development of the Kingsbridge Armory by the Kingsbridge National Ice Center.