Today, the Kingsbridge Armory Task Force, co-chaired by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and City Council Member Fernando Cabrera, released its final report. The report documents the work of the Task Force, which was created following its announcement at the borough president’s 2010 “State of the Borough” address. It includes a number of models for redevelopment that were proposed to the Task Force during the past year-and-a-half, and recommends that the City put forward a new “request for proposals” (RFP) for the armory.
In addition, the final report includes the completed work of New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service’s Capstone Program, which assisted the Task Force in identifying models for the redevelopment of the Kingsbridge Armory. The report includes a complete catalog of the work of the Task Force since it was formed in February 2010, recounting the various meetings the Task Force had with those parties interested in redeveloping the Kingsbridge Armory.
“During the past year, the Kingsbridge Armory Task Force met with dozens of individuals, organizations and businesses that expressed interest and submitted proposals for the redevelopment of the Kingsbridge Armory. I am delighted with the level and variety of response we received,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
Borough President Diaz noted that the mission of the Task Force was not to advocate for any particular redevelopment model for the Kingsbridge Armory, but to identify the range of opportunities for constructive and beneficial re-use of the site. As a result of the strong response, the Task Force is recommending that the Bloomberg administration issue a new RFP for the armory, soliciting proposals that respond to the economic development aspirations of the Bronx as well as the social and employment needs of the surrounding community.
“The work of the Task Force shows just how much interest there is in this historic structure. It is time for us to move forward to get the job done. This report proves that we can put together a proposal that not only brings development to the site, but does so in a complementary manner that takes into account the needs of the surrounding community and the Bronx as a whole,” said Borough President Diaz. “Mayor Bloomberg has stated that he is open to every good idea for the Kingsbridge Armory. This report illustrates the wealth of ideas and possibilities available for the Armory. I am ready to work together with the Bloomberg Administration to develop and issue a new RFP for the Kingsbridge Armory, and I hope that they will join us in working for the positive redevelopment of the armory.”
While there were some proposals that suggested purely private sector redevelopment of the Armory would be possible, none of these achieved the goals that the Task Force envisioned for this important site. As a result, the Task Force concluded that some type of public-private partnership would be required for the successful redevelopment of the facility, as has been the case with other armories across the city.
“I would like to thank my co-chair, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., and all the members of the Task Force for their diligent work and contribution to the Kingsbridge Armory Task Force Report. This Task Force saw stakeholders from the community, government, public, and private sector contribute to the dialogue around the armory and this report represents an important initial step as we begin the process of developing the Kingsbridge Armory into an important community asset,” said City Council Member Fernando Cabrera, co-chair of the Kingsbridge Armory Task Force.
“We know that the Kingsbridge Armory has the potential to revitalize not only the Kingsbridge community or the 33rd Senate District, but to create jobs and jumpstart the economy of the whole borough of the Bronx. I want to thank Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. for recognizing the potential for greatness we have in the Kingsbridge Armory and for his leadership on putting together a thoughtful report on how we as a community should move forward on breathing new life into the Kingsbridge Armory,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera.
“Opening up the discussion of the Armory’s future has allowed stakeholders to better understand the challenges and opportunities associated with its redevelopment. We have built a foundation for the collaborative effort that is needed to turn this vacant property into a community asset,” said Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City.
“The Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation’s participation in this Task Force was time well spent. We were able to see for ourselves the large number of private as well as nonprofit entities interested in participating in the Kingsbridge Armory’s redevelopment,” said Marlene Cintron, president of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation.
“On behalf of the Building and Construction Trades Council let me first thank the Borough President and the members of the Task Force for their hard work and the seriousness with which this issue was addressed. We look forward to a successful conclusion to the RFP process so that our members can get to work building a world class facility within the Kingsbridge Armory that will benefit all stakeholders in this project,” said Jack Kittle, political director of District Council 9.
“The take away from the Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment Alliance’s (KARA) work with the Task Force is the armory is screaming for redevelopment as a community serving multi-use facility. KARA has included a model in the report which builds upon what Capstone submitted and shows how the that armory can be kept in public hands, financed through a public-private partnership, and be a ground breaking resource for our community-creating good jobs, training programs, cultural and athletic opportunities, and space for small businesses to thrive,” said Desiree Pilgrim-Hunter, President of the Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition.
“I am proud to have served on this Task Force with a leader like Ruben Diaz Jr who sees the potential of the Bronx based on its considerable assets, and not a just as a victim of its unfortunate past. Our Kingsbridge Armory work is just one of what I hope to be many more examples, that value our urban density and diverse economic network in ways that can help the Bronx to grow into something greater – and not continue to mire the Bronx in the shockingly low expectations of past and present leaders – both inside and outside of the Bronx,” said Majora Carter, President of the Majora Group.
A copy of the complete report of the Kingsbridge Armory Task Force can be found at: http://bit.ly/kkq85L
Co-chaired by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and City Council Member Fernando Cabrera, the Kingsbridge Armory Task Force was made up of Majora Carter, environmental consultant; Marlene Cintron, president of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation; Paul Foster, chairman of Bronx Community Board #7; Jack Kittle, political director of District Council 9; Steven McInnis, political director for the New York City District Council of Carpenters; Desiree Pilgrim-Hunter, a board member of the Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition; Ned Regan, former state comptroller; Gustavo Rivera, State Senator; Jack Rosen, Chief Executive of Rosen Partners LLC; Steven M. Safyer, MD, President and CEO of Montefiore Medical Center, and Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City.