Political battle over the Kingsbridge Armory

December 17, 2010 2:38:22 PM PST
There is a nasty political battle between New York City Mayor Bloomberg and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz over what to do with a remarkable piece of real estate.

The Kingsbridge Armory is an historic building and worth a fortune in terms of potential, but right now it's empty.

It is a hulking five acre site that has stood for nearly 100 years, but for the last 15 years, the Kingsbridge Armory has been vacant.

The enormous Romanesque structure is a city landmark, and on the national register of historic places, but it is rotting away.

Two years ago, a developer proposed turning the armory into a mall.

The Bloomberg administration pushed for the $310 million project saying it would create over a thousand jobs.

But, the Bronx borough president killed the deal, saying those jobs were low paying.

The dispute has led to a new fight in another neighborhood.

The borough president wants to move a National Guard unit that still uses a portion of the armory into a vacant army reserve building in Wakefield.

But, the city wants to convert that space into a 200-bed homeless shelter for men.

Critics say they neighborhood already has its fair share of homeless units.

For now, it appears the borough president has won another round.

By skipping a key vote Wednesday, the shelter plan is on hold.

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