With the race for redevelopment of the long dormant Kingsbridge Armory down to two developers, two Bronx board members of the city’s Economic Development Corp. with potential conflicts say they won’t be swayed by politics or anyone’s opinions but their own.
Marlene Cintron, head of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp., the economic engine for the Bronx Borough President’s Office, sits on the 29-member board.
Cintron has not hid her support for the Kingsbridge National Ice Center, a mega nine-ice skating rink complete with a 5,000 seat arena.
“It will enhance the living daylights out of the locals,” said Cintron, who thinks KNIC will draw customers who will venture out to the neighborhood mom and pop shops.
Cintron was appointed to the board by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., another staunch supporter of the KNIC, one of a few Bronx pols who came out early in favor of the project.
The board’s role comes at the final phase of the process, after the EDC staff picks the project that sends into the time-consuming process known as Uniform Land Use Review Procedure.
Once that’s completed, the board will vote on the disposition of the property, which settles the lease terms with the selected developer.
The board does have to power to vote for or against the lease terms of a selected project.
Cintron maintains that she will not use her position as a way to convince others to block the other project – the marketplace/entertainment complex Mercado Mirabo – from moving forward if EDC decides on that plan by Young Woo & Associates.
“If they do choose the ice center I will certainly vote for it,” said Cintron. “If EDC chooses the other one I’m going to vote for it as well.”
As far as Cintron is concerned, anything inside the massive castle is better than one that’s barren. “What’s an empty armory?”
Cintron is not the only Bronx official on the board. Frank Randazzo, Bronx Empowerment Zone Director for the BOEDC, was appointed by Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
But even with Cintron and Diaz Jr. backing the ice rink, Randazzo has not been approached to jump on team KNIC.
“I’m aware that Marlene as president of BOEDC favors the ice rink project,” said Randazzo. “But she has not instructed me as an employee of BOEDC that I should favor it too.”
For now, he remains undecided over which project would be best for the borough, though he admits “if either one moves forward I think it would be far better than leaving that building empty.”
Cintron is also hoping this would clear up allegations of any conflicts of interests, which the EDC said doesn’t exist.
“For the conspirary theorists out there,” she said, “This one doesn’t pan out.”
Reach reporter David Cruz at 718-742-3383.
David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383