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Kingsbridge Armory ice center bidders release memo that touts $1.3 billion in “economic impact” for city

New York Daily News
September 11, 2012
By Daniel Beekman

The redevelopment of the vacant Kingsbridge Armory as an ice sports center would net the city a $1.3 billion “economic impact” over 30 years, the group behind the proposal said Monday.

The estimate includes $370 million in construction-related “economic activity” and $88 million in annual business conducted by the Kingsbridge National Ice Center, according to an internal memo released by the group, which includes pro hockey legend Mark Messier and ice skating champion Sarah Hughes.

The hefty figure was calculated by the firm HR&A Advisors as part of a study that the KNIC group commissioned in March.

The $250 million proposal is one of two leading bids for the vacant 575,000-square-foot Bronx structure and is currently under review by the New York City Economic Development Corporation. With nine rinks, it would be the largest indoor ice facility in the world.

“This project will create good, living wage jobs for our borough while generating high-level economic development,” said Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., who endorsed the bid last month.

The other leading bid is a mixed-use project called Mercado Mirabo that would include basketball courts, a climbing wall, a movie theater, a food court, a weekend artisan market, shops and a hip-hop museum.

Mercado Mirabo firm Young Woo & Associates didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Diaz supports the ice center bid partly because the group has vowed to pay every worker at the building a “living wage” of $10 an hour plus benefits or $11 without benefits.

The memo includes various job estimates related to the operation of the ice center and related economic activity, such as tourism.

The breakdown is somewhat opaque, but the memo claims the project would create about 1,850 temporary construction and 590 permanent jobs citywide, with 240 full and part-time jobs directly on-site.

The ice center group also hopes to create additional jobs via the construction and operation of a public school and hotel on adjacent city property that currently houses the National Guard.

The facility would attract 7,000 visitors a day – more than 2.5 million a year, including almost 1.5 million new visitors from outside the Bronx, bringing $18 million in new business to the borough annually, according to the memo.

The project would also net the city and state tens of millions of dollars in new tax revenues.