It’s a tempting offer.
One of the two competing developers for the Kingsbridge Armory looking to leverage their odds, is offering to build a badly needed school next to it.
But the school plan could take years – and face extensive hurdles.
Developers for the Kingsbridge National Ice Center would have to deal with demapping, relocation and financing issues.
When the backers behind a nine-rink facility and giant arena first unveiled its plans for the landmark castle, they threw in a second phase proposal to build a sports-themed school.
Neighbors welcomed the idea as relief from the overcrowded local school district.
The school would house 750 students inside a building now occupied by the National Guard’s 1st Battallion 258th Field Artillery.
But National Guard officials have not been approached by KNIC about taking over the building, said Guard spokesman Eric Durr.
The unit will remain there, he said, until there’s a facility that meets its needs.
“If someone can provide us with a facility for training, storage and administrative purposes, then we would move,” said Durr. “It’s not up to us to find a space.”
The scouting for a new Guard unit home, according to Durr, is up to the state.
One longstanding idea from Bronx officials has been to shift the guard unit to the Muller Army Reserve Center in Wakefield.
But the Bloomberg administration already has a deal with the Doe Fund to convert it to a 200-bed homeless shelter.
It’s also unclear how the school would be financed.
The School Construction Authority has allocated $100 million in funds for two schools near Kingsbridge, but it has not stated whether any funds would go to KNIC.
If the already allocated money is not for them, KNIC would have to wait until 2015 for the next funding round from the SCA.
Another problem would be a requirement to demap 195th Street for the school, a costly urban renewal process that could take months.
A KNIC spokesman said it hasn’t given thought of any of those hurdles since the plan is simply in the early stages.
“The school is contingent on the armory,” he said. “Once we get designated to redevelop the armory, then we can start looking into the school.”
Meantime, Young Woo & Associates, KNIC challenger and brainchild of Mercado Mirabo, scored community points after appearing at a forum on Wednesday, October 17.
KNIC did not attend due to scheduling conflicts, said the spokesman.
Their absence drew a wave of boos from nearly 300 people who showed.
“I’m very disappointed KNIC didn’t come out,” said Alice McIntosh, lead organizer of the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition.
The group heads the Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment Alliance, which watchdogs both developers and their commitment to community needs.
KARA has not sided with either developer since neither has fully committed to a community benefits agreement.
Both developers have said they will include some kind of a CBA into the lease deal if their project is approved by the city’s Economic Development Corp.
Reach reporter David Cruz at 718-742-3383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383