One mall down…one more to go

The Related Companies’ Stephen Ross was in the Bronx on Thursday, September 17 to open the Gateway Center, a $500 million shopping mall on River Avenue.

“Hopefully we can reach the same conclusion elsewhere in the Bronx,” Ross said.

Of course, the real estate magnate was referring to the Kingsbridge Armory 40 blocks north, where Related is set to build a $310 million mall.

In early September, Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. issued a “no” recommendation on the armory plan; Related has yet to sign a community benefits agreement. Diaz Jr. wants Related to guarantee a living wage – $10 an hour plus benefits – for retail workers at the armory.

The City Planning Commission will issue its recommendation soon, and then the City Council. Related has refused to consider a living wage guarantee; it would render the armory mall un-buildable, Related lawyer Jesse Masyr said.

“We hope that the local officials will be reasonable,” Ross said.

Masyr and Diaz Jr. had a “frank discussion” prior to the borough president’s recommendation, the lawyer said.

Best Buy and Target, Home Depot and Staples, those big-box stores ensconced at the Gateway Center, would stay out of the armory mall rather than guarantee a living wage, Masyr argued.

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