As proponents of the Kingsbrige Armory development count yays and nays ahead of Tuesday’s vote for zoning approval, Councilman Fernando Cabrera is taking to the streets in opposition.
He sent out a press release in the wee hours of Sunday morning (1:53 a.m.) saying he would join community members in highlighting the negative impact of the plan to turn the armory into the largest ice-skating arena in the country. The rally kicked off at midafternoon.
Cabrera stood with elected officials, the developer and backers including Mark Messier and Sarah Hughes when the announced an agreement for the armory in April.
Behind the scenes, however, sources involved with the negotiations say he attempted to alter the Community Benefits Agreement between 27 community organizations and the developer, at one point asking for $100,000 for Community Action Unlimited (which he is connected to) and repeatedly changing demands regarding a CBA he’s not a party to.
After news broke last month that he had asked for money, he voted yes at the Borough Board meeting on Nov. 21, saying he still had concerns about traffic but that he was confident they could be worked out.
It was another story at the City Council subcommittee hearing on Thursday, however. He complained not only about parking, but other parts of the CBA as well, and laced into Alice McIntosh, who oversaw the CBA negotiations. Then, he asked fellow councilmembers to vote no, while still holding out hope that he could come to support the plan by vote time.
After the hearing, there were additional talks on changing some language in the CBA, sources say, but they failed when Cabrera made significant new demands. One would switch control over community space from a coalition of community groups to an advisory council on which Cabrera gets to appoint members.
Cabrera could not be reached for comment.
McIntosh said in a statement: “This Community will no longer be held hostage by Cabrera’s no vote or his attempts to ‘re-write’ the Community Benefits Agreement. If the City Council wishes to support him they will be saying no to wall to wall living wage jobs, 50,000 square feet of community space, $250,000 in local grants for small businesses along Kingsbridge, sustainable, green development, free foundation sports and after-school programming, targeted towards Title 1 public schools in the Bronx, one million yearly in-kind contribution which will allow local residents and community groups to use the ice for free, and specifically targeted local, minority and women owned business hiring and procurement.”