A group of Bronx residents have been asking City Council members not to give a developer permission to open a mall in the long vacant Kingsbridge Armory. Surely this is a sign that the economy, at least in New York City, isn’t doing so badly.
“Oh, our armory. Oh, our armory,” a small group sang on the step of City Hall last week. “Before we take minimum wage, we’ll be buried in our graves and go home to our Lord and be free.”
Community activisits have been opposing a plan to build a shopping mall at the 575,000-square foot landmark. They’ve been arguing that the developer should have to guarantee that stores in the mall will pay at least $10 an hour plus benefits. The developer points out that many retailers simply won’t open stores in the mall if the cost of labour is artificially inflated.
One of the main opponents of the mall is a local grocery store whose owners fear that they might face price competition from a chain grocery that would open in the mall. They are asking the mall developers to guarantee that no grocery store will be given space in the mall.
It’s as if none of these people have ever heard of the crisis in commercial real estate. And they probably haven’t. We can’t help but suspect that when community activists continue to oppose job creation, the community members must not be doing so badly.