Together for Kingsbridge Working Group may have finally gotten the long-awaited RFP it has hoped for regarding the redevelopment of the historic Kingsbridge Armory, but one community group is not so happy.
The 51-page request for proposals was released by the New York City Economic Development Corp. Sept. 22. The economic development corporation, the property owner, seeks a developer to lease, redevelop and operate the 570,000-square-foot landmark Kingsbridge Armory.
“The release of this RFP demonstrates that we are serious about the redevelopment of the Kingsbridge Armory and want this historic structure to, not only remain a symbol of resiliency, but become an economic engine for the Bronx,” said economic development corporation president and chief executive Andrew Kimball. “In addition to economic development, we want the redeveloped armory to promote sustainability and serve diverse users in the Bronx.”
The Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition said in a statement it is disappointed the RFP “does not reflect the clarity and strength of the Together for Kingsbridge Community Vision plan’s priorities for community ownership and union jobs.”
“However, we remain hopeful that all respondents will look to the Community Vision Plan, which was included in the RFP, as a set of standards for what any successful development” must fulfill, said Sandra Lobo, executive director of the coalition.
Specifically, her organization is worried the Kingsbridge Armory RFP “contains no provisions around community ownership or clear mandates for a project labor agreement, labor peace agreement or local hire and workforce development standards.”
That’s not to say the RFP doesn’t address these issues.
On Page 24 under the project labor agreement section, it states: The economic development corporation “believes that a project labor agreement between the developer’s construction manager or general contractor and Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and Vicinity an the involved trades will provide the needed support for a project of this size and complexity.”
As for labor peace agreements, the RFP states: “With respect to Respondents within industries that are typically governed by collective bargaining, (the economic development corporation) will consider favorably and indication of willingness to enter into labor peace agreements.”
Councilwoman Pierina Sanchez, who is the co-chair of Together for Kingsbridge Community Vision, is excited to see progress on the redevelopment.
“The Kingsbridge Armory embodies the resilience of our community, and after a long redevelopment journey, including failed attempts and a restart of community engagement, I am excited to reach another milestone,” Sanchez said. “The publishing of (the economic development corporation’s) requests for proposals for the Armory comes on the heels of nine months of community engagement — involving 4,000 community members — that resulted in the Kingsbridge Armory Vision Plan.”
Other electeds who have sang the praises of the progress in the armory redevelopment include Bronx Borough president Vanessa Gibson, state Sen. Gustavo Rivera and U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat.
“With the release of the RFP, we are demonstrating our commitment to investing in the largest armory in the nation that has been left dormant for years,” said Gibson, “but has the potential to be an economic engine for the borough and a space that is truly for the Kingsbridge community.”
Coupled with the ‘Together for Kingsbridge Community Vision Plan,’ the Armory’s history and potential will finally be preserved and fully realized, according to Espaillat.
As the northwest Bronx enters the next phase of development of the Kingsbridge Armory with the RFP announcement, Rivera encourages all eligible local community stakeholders to submit applications.
They need “to rethink, reimagine, and reassert the visionary use and planning for this historic building and what it means to our community,” he said. “Proposals will need to reflect our vision for the transformation of this neighborhood icon and ensure our community will benefit from its redevelopment. I cannot help but feel optimistic about the future of this project and its significance for the Bronx.”
The release of the RFP marks the third time a project to redevelop the 113-year-old former home to the New York State National Guard 258th Field Artillery Regiment has reached this stage. This time around it is backed by a $200 million investment by Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul.
The RFP seeks to:
• Create a financially feasible, thriving, mixed-use development that:
• Strike a balance between addressing the needs of the local community and creating an economic engine for the wider area;
• Activate the Armory and enhance its integration with the neighborhood, promoting more accessibility, transparency, and connection with the surrounding community;
• Serve diverse users, including those from different age groups, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and income levels; and
• Deliver a minimum of 25,000 square feet of space to be subleased to one or more community-based organizations at discounted rates.
• Design the site to promote sustainability, energy efficiency, and carbon neutrality, while preserving the landmarked exterior.
• Responsibly develop the project by delivering a comprehensive hiring program that supports communities and creates job opportunities, including for economically disadvantaged candidates.
• Generate returns to the city through lease rent, tax, and payment in lieu of tax (“PILOT”) revenue.
Responses to the RFP are due by 11:59 p.m., on Thursday, Jan. 18.
Visit the edc.nyc/kingsbridge-armory-redevelopment-rfp for more information. An optional information session will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 10:30 a.m. with more details available in the RFP.