In a 48 - 1 vote the full City Council voted to approve the Kingsbridge National Ice Center proposal for the Kingsbridge Armory. Only Charles Barrons cast the lone dissenting vote against the KNIC proposal. Councilman Fernando Cabrera left his Mr. Hyde character at home as he was all smiles when he voted yes for the KNIC proposal after doing one about face after another leaving Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. puzzled as to what Councilman Cabrera was doing during the waning days before the final city council vote.
Diaz had the following statement about today's City Council Vote to approve the KNIC proposal for the Kingsbridge Armory.
“After years of hard work and advocacy by elected officials, community organizations, our community board and the people of the Bronx, I am thrilled to see that the redevelopment of the Kingsbridge Armory will finally become a reality.
“Today’s vote of the City Council represents the final hurdle cleared for the Kingsbridge National Ice Center (KNIC), a transformative project that will make the Bronx home to the nation’s largest ice sports center. KNIC will bring tens of thousands of new visitors to the borough, helping to stimulate our economy, while also creating hundreds of living wage jobs for Bronx residents.
“I am especially thankful for the support of our City Council and the entire Bronx City Council delegation, who understood the merits of the project and showed their strong support for it during today’s vote. The KNIC project will be good not just for the Northwest Bronx but for the entire borough, and the strong support of the entire Bronx delegation shows that to be true. I would also like to thank the developer, KNIC Partners, as well as Mark Messier and Sarah Hughes for their tireless advocacy on behalf of this wonderful project.
“This project is a victory for everyone involved, and represents the type of development we can see when everyone works together for the greater good. I look forward to this project’s completion, and the day when the Bronx can officially declare itself to be the premier ice sports destination in the United States, if not the nation,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
The Kingsbridge National Ice Center project was announced as the City’s official choice for the Kingsbridge Armory at a press conference in April 2013, which was attended by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Borough President Diaz, Council Member Fernando Cabrera, KNIC Partners LLC Founder Kevin Parker, New York Rangers hockey legend Mark Messier, Olympic Figure Skating Gold Medalist Sarah Hughes, then New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky and then Community Board #7 Chairman Paul Foster.
The original press release announcing the project can be read here:
. Full video of that event can be watched here: .
Also in April, Kingsbridge National Ice Center Partners (KNIC) and the Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment Alliance (KARA) signed a historic community benefits agreement (CBA) to redevelop the Kingsbridge Armory into a facility committed to serving Bronx residents. That CBA 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, more than 50,000 square feet of community space, targeted local hiring, opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses, free ice time for local schools, local procurement, sustainable green development and operation, and a business incubator to facilitate wealth creation for local residents. KNIC also plans to create a foundation to establish free after-school ice sports and academic tutoring programs for disadvantaged youth. The program will be modeled after the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation in Philadelphia, which has seen considerable academic and athletic success with those students who participate.