21-Love

By a 21-0 vote, the City Council’s Land Use Committee slathered praise on The Related Companies’ proposed shopping mall at Bronx Terminal Market Wednesday morning. The full council is expected to approve it later this afternoon.

Presumably, the community benefits agreement between the developer and Bronx elected officials will be signed by then. (A press conference is scheduled for 1 p.m.) As of this morning, it had not. But Jesse Masyr, an attorney for Related, said the agreement required any “warehouse shopping club” that leased space in the mall to honor food stamps and W.I.C. Related would pitch in half the membership fee for 2,000 low-income households for the first five years. How those families will be chosen is yet to be determined. Richard Lipsky, a lobbyist for the merchants who would be displaced by the mall, said afterwards, “Basically, elected officials have become lottery officials for the 40,000 food stamp recipients within the congressional district.”

The C.B.A., which Masyr said was enforceable, also calls for Related to contribute $3 million to a referral service that would direct the retail jobs for Bronx residents. Borough contractors and suppliers will be given preference (ditto on details), he said, and the mall would be built to environmentally green standards.

Separately, the head of the merchants association, Stanley Mayer, signed an agreement Tuesday night accepting $30 a square foot for moving expenses, Masyr said, including $10 from Related, $10 from the city, and $10 from the Bronx empowerment zone. No deductions for Related’s legal expenses. Mayer was not talking to press. The individual merchants, though, could decline the offer—and be left with what exactly?

One council member was said to be changing his vote. Nonetheless, an issue that got a lot of ink in the press turned out to be a newspaper dragon.

-Matthew Schuerman