The landmark Kingsbridge Armory, long vacant, will finally see redevelopment soon. Three years after Mayor Bloomberg’s abomination of a proposal to convert it to a mall fell through, two better proposals have come to light.
The first proposal – and the one with the most preliminary official support – is the Kingsbridge National Ice Center. In short, this plan features a whopping nine ice rinks for such activities as ice skating and hockey; it’d be the largest (indoor) ice center in the world if built. The plan also calls for construction of a public school and hotel on nearby property.
Make no mistake – I think the ice center proposal is awesome; however, there’s another proposal that I believe is better.
Meet Mercado Mirabo – the redevelopment plan envisioned by Young Woo & Associates. The plan for Mercado Mirabo – a.k.a. “a market you can see” – calls for a mixed-use facility featuring recreational sports (e.g. soccer, basketball), rock climbing, a local market and shops, a food court, a movie theater, and even a hip-hop museum!
I’ve always favored some sort of mixed-use recreational facility for the Armory (like the Park Slope Armory); methinks Mercado will have more to offer on the recreational side than the ice center. Because of this (and the fact that this could create more permanent Bronx jobs than the ice center), I favor Young Woo’s proposal.
At issue is the number of permanent “living wage” jobs created by each proposal; “living wages” in NYC are a minimum of $10/hr+bennies OR $11-11.50/hr w/o bennies. Given that my precious home borough is the poorest in the nation, such an infusion is more than welcome. The Ice Center planners’ pledge to pay employees no less than the living wage makes it more attractive in the eyes of local politicians, but the cats at Young Woo pledge to outdo even that – offering the same amount or possibly more living wage jobs (and more overall jobs) than the Ice Center.
In short, both proposals are great; in the long run though, methinks Mercado Mirabo offers more and will attract more cats to the Armory. As such, I hope they choose Young Woo’s plan for the Armory’s redevelopment.