Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More support for living wages at the Kingsbridge Armory

If yesterday's city council meeting foreshadows the city's ultimate decision on the Kingsbridge Armory redevelopment plans, the developer may be in for a disappointment. According to one account, "virtually the entire Zoning and Franchising Subcommittee, (which will be the only Council committee to hold a hearing on the project) grilled company representatives on the living wage issue." Another source called it "a major road block." 
The developer, Related Cos., and the Bloomberg administration have been fighting against the living wage requirement for months, but the Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment Alliance, with strong support from Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, seem to have succeeded in persuading city council members not to let the project go forward without a CBA requiring a living wage. At the meeting, city council members contended that not including the wage provision would make the heavily subsidized project into "an economic exploitation project" and would "keep the neighborhood poor." Other council members expressed skepticism at claims that the project wouldn't be commercially feasible with higher wage standards. Diaz declared that "these jobs must be created in the right way. The old model, that any job is better than no job, is no longer acceptable."

The city council put off its decision in order to have more time to question city officials about the project. A public hearing will be held on Nov. 23, and a vote on the project will be made by Dec. 9.

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