Archives of the Mayor's Press Office

Date: Thursday, January 20, 2000

Release #025-2000

Contact: Sunny Mindel/Curt Ritter 212/788-2958
Bernadette O'Leary (EDC) 212/312-3523


Project to Create 1,100 Permanent Jobs, 625 Construction Jobs

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, joined by representatives of RD Management, a major retail center development company, and BasketBall City, today unveiled plans that would transform the Kingsbridge Armory into a 475,000-square-foot urban entertainment center and sports complex. The Armory is located at the corner of Kingsbridge Road and Jerome Avenue in the Kingsbridge Heights section of the Bronx.

"As I announced during my State of the City address last week, this project will redevelop the long neglected Kingsbridge Armory and create a major entertainment, sports, retail and community center for the Bronx which will attract thousands of visitors from around the City," said Mayor Giuliani. "The redeveloped Kingsbridge Armory will provide area residents with a community facility - a place to play basketball and soccer, watch a movie, and shop. This project will help revitalize the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx and create 1,100 permanent jobs, as well as 625 construction jobs. This project will serve as a national model for the adaptive re-use of antiquated and deteriorated but architecturally significant buildings -- especially government buildings, such as the nation's armories. I want to thank RD Management and Basketball City for investing in this project and the Task Force of City agencies for helping to bring this first-class entertainment and retail complex to the Bronx."

Manhattan-based developer RD Management, which owns and manages 21 million square feet of commercial space and has developed 200 shopping centers accommodating tenants such as Home Depot, K Mart, Pathmark, and The Wiz, will lead the project's development team. BasketBall City, a company that runs successful multi-sport recreational facilities in New York City and Boston, will operate the facility.

Built between 1913 and 1917, the 88-year-old building, which occupies four City blocks, is believed to be the largest armory in the world. The Kingsbridge Armory was home to the National Guard's 258th Field Artillery Unit until 1994. Plans to transform the structure include:

The Kingsbridge Armory will also offer a program through Jump Start, a not-for-profit organization created by BasketBall City, that provides schools in need with basketball court space free of charge.

"We are extremely excited to be associated with this unique project," said RD Management project executive Gary McEntee. "In addition to providing the community with the amenities of a first-rate community facility, entertainment, retail and sports complex, we are certain that this project will serve as an economic catalyst for the surrounding community. This community deserves both. We look forward to working with the community, City and State, on this extraordinary revitalization project."

Michael G. Carey, President of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) said, "On behalf of the City, EDC will provide a long-term lease to RD Management. This world-class entertainment center and sports complex will be a great source of jobs for the surrounding community and will contribute greatly to the revitalization of the Bronx."

Joseph B. Rose, Director of the Department of City Planning and Chair of the Mayor's Kingsbridge Armory Task Force, said," This project is a striking example of Mayor Giuliani's refusal to give up on seemingly hopeless situations. His charge to us was to figure out how to save this massive historic building in a way that would benefit the community and be economically sustainable. We had no choice but to succeed."

The City will invest $30 million in capital funds to perform an environmental cleanup, remove and replace the building's collapsing roof, and repair the crumbling facade. RD Management has committed $80 million to the project to modernize the building's infrastructure in order to provide sufficient plumbing, electrical and HVAC service to accommodate multiple uses, and to create the athletic, tenant and community spaces. RD Management will also perform extensive re-engineering and reconstruction work to the existing parking structure to create a workable, self-contained facility.

Turner Construction will manage the project as part of RD Management's team. The Kingsbridge Armory presents a variety of environmental, architectural and engineering challenges, such as asbestos and lead paint removal, facade restoration, and creating sufficient entry and exit ways without defacing a landmark structure. Turner's experience in cleaning up and renovating the Washington, DC Navy Yard's Gun Assembly Plant -- a structure of similar design and vintage -- will contribute significantly to the building's redevelopment.

Last year the Mayor appointed a Task Force that explored the possibilities of redeveloping the Kingsbridge Armory. Members of the Task Force instrumental in developing this plan were the Economic Development Corporation, Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Department of Design and Construction.

Although the City's environmental and land-use review processes will take several months to be completed before the developer may begin work on the site, the City plans to begin certain work in the spring to move construction forward. Environmental clean up, roof replacement and interior clean up may commence as early as the end of April, in addition to restoration of the deteriorating facade. Once the public approval process is complete, RD expects construction to take approximately 18 months. The company expects to begin announcing a list of tenants over the next few months.

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