|The Kingsbridge Armory Arena?|
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz has written to Marlene Cintron, the president of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, to give his backing to a sports arena. Other ideas include a massive church, a film studio and even a chef's kitchen.
"I have long believed that the Kingsbridge Armory should be used for the people of the Bronx. I have seen the superb facility that has been developed at the armory at West 168th Street and Fort Washington Avenue in Manhattan. The Bronx deserves a great facility as well."The project would also put a charter school in the building, have at least six year round ice rinks and one temporary rink outdoors in the winter. Part of the building would be an arena sized for a minor league hockey team or WNBA team. Concerts, conventions and other events could also be held in the arena.
The task force has chosen not to lobby for a specific idea, instead saying the city should reissue the RFP to find a suitor. Dinowitz's letter is really the first instance of an elected officials or community leader coming out to support a single idea, but the everyone's general idea is to get the building occupied, especially after the City Council and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr (co-leader of the task force) blocked a shopping mall in the armory in 2009 when the developer refused to consent to instituting a 'living wage' mandate for all who worked there. Diaz also noted that any retail center at the armory could kill the businesses along Fordham Road, a few blocks away.
Jump below for Dinowitz's letter.
Dear Ms. Cintron:
I am pleased to learn that sports facilities, including those for ice skating and hockey, are among the possible uses being contemplated for the Kingsbridge Armory. Having grown up within a few blocks of the Armory and having lived there for nearly half my life, I have always been extremely interested in there being a top-notch plan for the site.
I opposed the proposal to construct a shopping mall in the Armory that would have received tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies. Such a mall would undoubtedly have decimated the Fordham Road and Kingsbridge Road shopping districts and cost countless jobs. Some Manhattan-based editorial board writers that strongly supported the heavily-subsidized mall probably spend little or no time in the Bronx and undoubtedly had no concept of the impact of such a mall on the surrounding community. I am certain that Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. took the correct position for the Bronx on this matter and, as a result, we now have a golden opportunity to do something really special for the Bronx.
I have long believed that the Kingsbridge Armory should be used for the people of the Bronx. I have seen the superb facility that has been developed at the armory at West 168th Street and Fort Washington Avenue in Manhattan. The Bronx deserves a great facility as well. The possibilities are endless, including real ice skating rinks for the entire Bronx to enjoy, ice hockey, basketball, running tracks, community facilities, and finally giving the community what it has long demanded: new public schools outside the armory.
So, I would like to applaud the work of both BOEDC and the Borough President. We’ve waited a long time for the right development of the Armory site. We dodged a bullet when we avoided the heavily-subsidized, job-killing shopping mall. Now we must redouble our efforts to develop the site for the best interests of Kingsbridge Heights and the entire Bronx. I look forward to working with you and being helpful in any way that I am able.
Member of Assembly