Tag Archives: Bronx Real Estate

After 8 Years of Nothingness, Armory Ice-Rink Plan Ditched

17 Dec

Dec. 17, 2021 …. Breaking News (really, I’m not kidding!): After almost 30 years of fits and starts (and a lotta stops) on the future of the Kingsbridge Armory, the plan the city, and its chosen developer, got the OK on has been officially and legally ditched.

Almost exactly eight years ago — on Dec. 10, 2013 — the future of the historic site was handed over to KNIC (Kingsbridge National Ice Center) a group that was planning to turn the armory into a home for nine ice skating rinks, particularly for hockey teams, and 50,000-square-feet of space for local nonprofit community organizations. (The armory — the biggest one in the world! — is over 520,000 square feet.)

But virtually zilch has happened since.

So, earlier today, wondering where the heck things were at long after after KNIC took on the project, I wrote to the city agency responsible for the program: the Economic Development Corporation (EDC). This was their breaking-news response:

“We are disappointed the redevelopment of the Kingsbridge Armory — a centerpiece of the Kingsbridge community — has been set back but we look forward to working with the community to rethink the uses of this historic building.”

And referring to a recent legal ruling that led to their disappointment, EDC added this:

“In a recent decision, the First Judicial Department of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York agreed with New York City Economic Development Corporation that KNIC did not provide the necessary evidence of financing for the ice center project at Kingsbridge Armory by the required deadline in 2016.  Therefore, the project will not be proceeding. We are disappointed that KNIC has been unable to realize the financing for the project, despite continued efforts since the 2016 deadline.”

It’s been almost 30 years since I and the Norwood News first covered the armory (see photo below), when the state handed it over to the city. The paper covered it relentlessly over the next few decades. That had an impact on helping get the empty historic facility some attention from local politicians and city agencies, as did the relentless activism of the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition.

But now that we’re back where it all started, it needs much more media and political attention, like if the Park Avenue Armory on Manhattan’s Upper East Side suddenly went empty. No one wants another freakin 30 years of this (or even 5 or 10!). Let’s get it on the top of our elected officials’ priority list and make them focus on what the community wants and needs. —Jordan Moss

The state of the Kingsbridge Armory was covered by the non-profit Bronx community newspaper, the Norwood News,
from 1993 to 2013 and beyond.
Photo by Jordan Moss

What Should We Do With Van Cortlandt Library Space?

21 Apr

DSC_1084.jpg

Van Cortlandt Library on Sedgwick Avenue will soon be leaving this space for a new, larger site on Cannon Place. What should replace it? Photo by Jordan Moss

This is a photo of the current Van Cortlandt Library, but it will only exist for another couple of months. The one that will replace it is twice as large, allowing more, and separate, rooms for kids and adults. And from the photo I saw of the design, it’s infinitely more attractive. It’s being built right now on Cannon Place. It should be open by the end of summer. Fingers crossed.

But in the meantime, what should go in the old space? It’s for rent, and who knows, maybe for sale (phone number in photo).

Here’s what I think: it should be a diner or breakfast/lunch joint. Yeah, sure I’d also like a Thai or Indian restaurant or an art gallery or … a lotta stuff. But I really think that a diner wold benefit the most people in the vicinity. There’s no place for anyone to sit down for a quick breakfast or lunch before they get on the bus, or go to work at PS 95 across the street. And, except for the pizza place, there’s really no place for the elderly and people without cars to take a walk and have some breakfast, lunch or dinner. We all love pizza but not every single time we want/need to go get something to eat.

That’s my view. But I’m interested in yours. And if there’s a collective community view of what should be there, let’s all shout it out loud to everyone we know who could help spread word to business folks interested in what we are interested in.

-Jordan Moss