Mayor to Re-Start Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg will once again try to get the 575,000-square-foot former National Guard armory in the Kingsbridge Section of the Bronx redeveloped, according to a city hall spokesman.

The mayor will mention the initiative in the State of the City address Thursday, the spokesman said, and at the same time the city's Economic Development Corporation will issue a request for proposals from developers who want to use the space for retail, recreational or commercial  purposes.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said he was "thrilled" the mayor was revisiting the proposal and that the city will look into a variety of potential uses for the space.

"The usage of the Kingsbridge Armory has been a major priority of my administration," he said in a statement, "and this new RFP (request for proposal) will allow the city to seek developers from a wide spectrum of potential uses, allowing us to bring a project that will enhance and compliment the surrounding neighborhood to this historic structure."

In 2009, the City Council rejected a proposal for a shopping mall from the Related Companies because Mayor Bloomberg would not go along with their demands that all the jobs there pay a “living wage” of $10 an hour plus benefit, or $11.50 an hour without benefits.

"We've heard from a variety of interested parties and we are putting aside our differences to do what's best for the city," Bloomberg is expected to say, according to an excerpt from his prepared remarks. "That's what leadership is about. It's not about a series of running arguments. It's about getting things done."

The request for proposals doesn't say living wages will be mandated, but it does say that the city will favorably view proposals that maximize the number of well-paying jobs, according to a summary of the request for proposals. But that summary also says the same language about wages that appeared in the original request will appear in this one.

The proposals will be due March 12.