New York City still considering Armory proposals

September 8, 2012 5:41:46 AM PDT
New York City has yet to decide on who will best to develop the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx. Recently, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz gave his endorsement to the Kingsbridge Ice Center project, but there is another plan out there under consideration.

The Diaz endorsement is not sitting well with a New York development company that believes their vision for the armory is the best bet for success in the Bronx.

The massive Kingsbridge Armory is a giant blank slate waiting to be developed. Young Woo and Associates call their vision Mercado Mirabo, a mix of community sports, weekend market and retail.

Their main floor would have a retractable floor to accommodate soccer one day, a merchants market the next. It would also have a 4-D movie theater, and they believe surrounding businesses would be enhanced by the project, not hurt.

"It's all about the quantity of people who would be passing by," said Margarette Lee, of Young Woo and Associates.

But Mercado Mirabo is facing stiff competition. The Kingsbridge Ice Center was already gaining support before Diaz offered his endorsement.

"To continue that positive momentum, and to bring perhaps the greatest ice sports center that the world has ever known," he said.

Even though that didn't sit well with the Mercado developers, they are taking it in stride.

"We were disappointed to see him side with their project surprised at the timing," Young Woo's Greg Carney said. "We still feel very confident that our concept is the right fit."

Young Woo and Associates has a strong track record in New York. It developed the successful Chelsea Arts Tower and is currently renovating Pier 57 into a mixed-use venue of retail and culture, much like what they envision for the Kingsbridge Armory.

The city's Economic Development Corporation has a tough decision on its hands, and both developers are anxious to see who will win the bid.

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