Two City Council subcommittees and then the full council voted down a multi-million dollar proposal Monday to redevelop Kingsbridge Armory into a shopping mall, killing the much-disputed project.
The Zoning and Franchises and Land Use committees both voted against a $310 million plan that would have transformed the nation's largest armory into a mega mall.
Then the full council voted against it, 45-1.
The vote had been postponed twice due to disputes over employee wages.
Bronx residents and leaders called for a working wage of $10, or the so-called "living wage," for mall workers. But developer Related Companies said that would scare off both tenants and financing.
This is the first time the current City Council, that which was voted into office in 2001, has voted against a major Bloomberg administration proposal.
"This is a great day for democracy because the council has to be independent of the mayor," said Councilman Tony Avella. "The council has to step up and represent the constituents. This is sending a message to the mayor. It's no longer that we're just going to do what you want. We're going to do what's in the best interest of the city."
"It's troubling because the city of New York is a very expensive city to live in," said Councilman Joel Rivera. "And those who suffer the most are the low-income residents who struggle to pay their rent and pay their bills."
Some council members called it a loss for the community.
"I'm not happy at the parties. It appears we could not resolve the issues and concerns up there," said Councilman Robert Jackson. "I'm afraid about the impact that's going to have on the future of the Bronx, as far as Kingsbridge Armory and the thousands of construction jobs that may not go forward."
Saying it's "not the role of the public sector" to add mandatory wage requirements, Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the council's vote "the loss of a rate opportunity" to bring jobs and investment to the Bronx.
"Given that the national recession continues to weigh on the entire city and keep unemployment high – particularly in The Bronx – the outcome and timing couldn’t be worse," continued the statement.
The vote also sparked strong reaction from many of the project's supporters.
In a statement, the president of the Real Estate Board of New York said in part, "Only in the world of self-serving special interests can no job be better than a job with no strings attached. Sadly that is what a group of narrow-minded activists have achieved today by stopping the Kingsbridge redevelopment project in the Bronx."
"Today’s vote by the New York City Council on the Kingsbridge Armory is simply bad public policy. Not developing the Armory will only extend the economic and jobs crisis in New York City, especially in the Bronx," said Building Trades Employers' Association President and CEO Louis J. Coletti.
The city could resubmit the proposal with a different developer.
The armory has been vacant for more than 10 years.