New York Times
The Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment Alliance was among the plan's opponents, saying jobs created would not pay well.
The Council voted 48 to 1, with one abstention, to override Mr. Bloomberg’s veto of its decision last week to defeat the plan, signaling the resentment the mayor faces on the eve of his third term.
Related Companies, the developer picked for the project, would have received more than $50 million in tax credits and exemptions for the plan. The company says the $310 million project would have created 1,000 construction jobs and 1,200 permanent ones in the Bronx, where the unemployment rate is the highest in the city. Mayor Bloomberg had backed the plan as a much-needed investment to spur economic development in the area.
But the City Council and local advocates objected to the mall, mainly because Related refused to require all prospective employers at the site to pay at least $10 an hour. Many of the jobs created would have paid at or around the minimum wage, $7.25 an hour.
A coalition of religious leaders, community advocates and labor groups pushed hard against Related’s plans, framing the mall as a boon for a well-connected development company that would be built at taxpayers’ expense. The group, known as the Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment Alliance, won the support of Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. and many other local officials.
After the vote last week, leaders of the coalition said they hoped the armory would be developed to offer more space for cultural, educational and recreational activities.
But Mayor Bloomberg warned Monday that the soaring brick castle, which has been vacant for more than a decade, may now sit empty for many more years.
“I just think it’s so disappointing for so many people who want jobs,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “It’s a great tragedy, but we have to move on.”
The Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, said that she was disappointed the two sides could not reach a compromise. The armory, she said, was “the only economic development project in the four years of the mayor and I working together where we haven’t been able to come to an agreement.”
The armory vote highlighted the political difficulties Mr. Bloomberg is likely to face after narrowly winning a third term last month. To the applause of his colleagues in the Council chambers, Councilman G. Oliver Koppell of the Bronx said that although he regretted that the armory would stay vacant, “there is only one administration and one mayor to blame.”
Councilwoman Helen Sears of Queens, who lost her seat in last month’s vote, cast the lone vote in support of the mayor. She also cast the only vote in support of the project last week.
Council members said that in addition to the wage issue, they also objected to Related’s traffic and parking plans for the area, though those issues played a minor role through weeks of negotiations.
The armory, a federal, state and city landmark, was built by the city between 1912 and 1917 and was used to store arms and ammunition and to train troops. Since then, its many lives have included a shelter for homeless women and a concert space.