In a rare decision for the City Council — which has voted in support of almost every single development project backed by Mayor Bloomberg — the group turned down a plan to convert the Kingsbridge Armory into a shopping mall, voting 45-1 against the proposal. Following the landslide decision, Bloomberg said he would veto the ruling, even though the Council will easily have enough votes to override him: "We will veto it. It is the right project for the Bronx"
The Council's near unanimous vote came after lengthy disputes with Related Companies over its $324 million plan, mostly regarding the wages that the estimated 1,200 retail workers would earn. Council members and neighborhood activists said they would only support the project if the developer mandated that retailers would pay workers a living wage of $10 per hour plus benefits. The developer said that such a guarantee would scare away shops.
Sources told the Daily News the plan got voted down because of a number of factors, including Bloomberg's "waning influence," Council Speaker Christine Quinn's inability to battle the Bronx Democratic machine due in the days before the election for next term's speaker, and the fact that Bronx Councilwoman Maria Baez has been out sick. Now, according to the tabloid, Bronx residents are asking themselves whether it would have been better to have 1,200 low-paying jobs than no jobs at all.