Armory review underway

So it begins.

The process to convert the Kingsbridge Armory landmark into an ice skating palace has begun taking baby steps, with city agencies hearing from community stakeholders who want developers to think green.

The official process to approve the city lease deal is another matter and at least a few months away.

A handful of locals, largely with the Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition, testified at the only public scoping meeting, Thursday, May 23 at the Bronx Library Center in Fordham, on the environmental impact of the Kingsbridge National Ice Center.

The center is set to be the world’s largest ice skating rink, with nine skating rinks and a 5,000-seat arena.

Meeting attendees all referred to the community benefits agreement signed by KNIC Partners, involving the developer’s commitment to using green technology.

Developer and former Wall Streeter Kevin Parker is already a proponent of green technology, running Green Partners, which invests money in eco-minded firms.

Desiree Pilgrim-Hunter, co-founder of the Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment Alliance (KARA) that sat at the negotiating table, backed Parker as a responsible green developer.

“Parker brings with him a proven track record as a globally recognized leader in the field of sustainable investing,” she said.

The main issues of potential asthma rates and parking influx, she said, could be mitigated between KNIC and the established Green the Armory working group.

KARA member Elizabeth Ortega hopes Parker considers installing toxic-reducing, geothermal technology that uses renewable energy.

“Other rinks have documented a 55% drop in electrical consumption, a 35% reduction in natural gas consumption, [and] a 17% decrease in water consumption,” said Ortega.

KNIC, she added, had agreed to this green technology in the community benefits agreement. Some of the architectural plans include installing solar panels, a water catcher for recyclable water, and charging stations for electric cars.

Officials with the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Coordination (MOEC) and city Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) co-hosted the meeting, offering the audience a glimpse on environmental impacts that will be explored before the exhaustive Uniform Land Use Procedural Review. Those include Land Use Rezoning and Public Policy, Historic and Cultural Resources, Hazardous Materials, Air Quality, Noise and Neighborhood Character.

The ULURP process, expected to take six months, involves reviews of the city/developer deal by the local community board, the Bronx borough president’s office, City Planning and the City Council for a final vote.

Bronxites still have a chance to provide testimony on the project by emailing Robert R. Kulikowski of MOEC at rkulikowski@cityhall.nyc.gov.

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383

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