Photo by: Daniel Case

Four years after a plan to turn the long-vacant Kingsbridge Armory into a mall died amid disagreement about wage requirements, the City Council on Tuesday approved a project promising sweeping community benefits as it transforms the hulking structure into the largest ice-sports center in the world.

The 48-1 vote by the Council followed two votes earlier in the day by a Council subcommittee and committee.

True to the tortured history of the Armory, the final vote did not come without drama: 48 hours before the vote, the Councilman in whose district the Armory falls vowed to vote against the project, citing concerns about the impact on traffic and small businesses. Sources revealed that the Councilman, Fernando Cabrera, had earlier in the negotiating process asked for the developer to pay money to a community group with which he is connected.

But as the vote loomed Tuesday, Cabrera announced his support, citing concessions by the developer.

“Today’s City Council vote, the result of years of collaboration and perseverance among our Administration, local elected officials, and the Bronx community, will bring an iconic Bronx landmark back to life,” Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement.

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