Friday, January 22, 2010

Gotham Gazette: "Will Derailing a Bad Project Lead to a Good One?"

Today's Gotham Gazette includes an excellent article by Joan Byron recapping the Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment Alliance's campaign for responsible and accountable development in the Northwest Bronx. When Related Cos. proposed to redevelop the armory as a shopping center, KARA insisted on a CBA with a living wage requirement, and when Related refused to guarantee living wage jobs, KARA succeeded in convincing the city council to reject the project.

And so, Byron asks, will defeating the shopping mall proposal lead to a better development plan?

KARA is ready to go back to the drawing board, with an even clearer understanding of what the Bronx stands to lose, and to gain. Realizing the damage that a mega-mall would inevitably inflict, KARA and its allies are seeking a community-led vision that will maximize local benefits without destroying the neighborhood.

They won’t have to look far for a precedent. Another armory opened its doors to its host community this month, gracefully accommodating a women’s shelter, community space and a YMCA whose gym will also serve local kids during the school day. The redevelopment of Brooklyn’s Park Slope Armory took years to move from vision to reality, but KARA members are already asking "why not here?"

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