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The New York City Economic Development Corp. (NYCEDC) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a developer to lease, redevelop, and operate the Kingsbridge Armory, a 570,000-square-foot historic site in the Bronx and one of the largest armory buildings in the world.

The RPF is backed by a $200 million investment by New Yor City Mayor Eric Adams and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and seeks to “create a financially feasible, thriving, mixed-use development.” Among the requirements being sought from developers is the commitment to use union labor and to set aside 25,000 square feet to be subleased to one or more community-based organizations at discounted rates.

And despite the medieval-style turrets and battlements of the nine-story building that make it stand out from its surroundings, the RPF envisioned the massive structure’s “integration with the neighborhood, promoting more accessibility, transparency, and connection with the surrounding community,”

The armory opened in 1917 and was used by the New York National Guard during the two World Wars; it was decommissioned in 1996 and returned to the city. The building has experienced a diverse history – it was offered to the United Nations as a temporary headquarters in the late 1940s and was briefly a homeless shelter in the 1980s. It also hosted boxing matches, dog shows and served as a makeshift studio for film and music video production. A proposal to create the world’s largest ice rink complex within the armory was floated in 2012 but failed to raise the necessary funds to bring it into fruition.

“The release of this RFP demonstrates that we are serious about the redevelopment of the Kingsbridge Armory and want this historic structure to, not only remain a symbol of resiliency, but become an economic engine for the Bronx,” said NYCEDC President and CEO Andrew Kimball. “In addition to economic development, we want the redeveloped armory to promote sustainability and serve diverse users in the Bronx.”

Developers have a deadline of Jan. 18, 2024, to respond to the RFP.

Photo: Caleb Long / Wikimedia Commons