Two years ago, there was a $310 million proposal to transform the imposing Kingsbridge Armory into a shopping mall, but the plan was shot down by City Council subcommittees and criticized by others who were worried about whether employees would be paid a living wage. Today, Mayor Bloomberg will announce that the city will be accepting new RFPs to develop the long-abandoned site in his State of the City address (today at 1 p.m.).

According to the NY Times, the opponents from the 2009 attempt are on board, because the City Council is separately working on passing a living wage bill, which would require some companies receiving city tax breaks to pay employees $10 an hour plus benefits or $11.50 without (Bloomberg is opposed to the plan). Top Bloomberg administration officials have been working with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., who was against the 2009 plan over the wage concerns, to get him on board. Diaz said,
"Those are two different issues now... We’re allowing for that to take place in the City Council."

Bloomberg told Crain's, "We don't walk away from things. “If you don't get something, you come back and try again. That's what our job is... We'd always like to have jobs come to the city that pay a lot more, but there's no requirement here. I think maybe everybody understands that when you try to force people to do things, it just doesn't work."

Crain's has details on the RFP: "The new request for proposals is similar to one the city issued in September 2006, with two exceptions. First, the winning developer will have the option to lease the building from the city, instead of buy it. And while the previous request spelled out a preference for a mix of commercial, retail, entertainment, recreation and community uses, the new solicitation allows respondents to propose a broader range of uses, although not housing. Two public schools that were part of the previous plan are no longer in the works." Back in 2009, Related was behind the $310 million shopping center plan. One party interested in developing the Kingsbridge Armory has a plan that includes a velodrome.