Just days after news emerged that the Kingsbridge Armory redevelopment project might be in trouble, the developers led by former New York Ranger Mark Messier have filed a lawsuit against the city for "deliberately delaying," the project, Norwood News first reported (h/t Daily News).
The developers were given a deadline of April 25 to show that they had $158 million to go forward with the first phase of construction of the Kingsbridge National Ice Center (KNIC). The development team had raised about $20 million through private funds, and was promised a construction loan from Empire State Development for the rest.
But the parties involved were caught up in a catch-22 situation. The developers were unable to secure the requisite funding without the city transferring over the lease, and the city refused to do so until the developers had a formal commitment for the funds.
In 2014, three co-developers had tried to wrest control of the project from lead developer, Kevin E. Parker. They filed suit, but lost. Now, this new lawsuit alleges that the city's Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) conspired with those developers to stall the project.
The agency denied this allegation, and in a statement issued to the Daily News said, "NYCEDC has bent over backwards to support the Kingsbridge project through continued legal and operational challenges faced by the KNIC team. Any allegations to the contrary are totally unfounded."
The lawsuit is now likely to further delay this $350 million project that would have seen the construction of an ice hockey stadium, eight ice skating rinks, and a community center.
UPDATE: Lawyers for the developers issued the following state to Curbed:
“Our clients believe the EDC secretly conspired with former associates of Kingsbridge to derail this project and is in ongoing violation of its contractual obligations,” William A. Brewer III, partner at Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors and lead counsel for Kingsbridge, said. “This lawsuit seeks to address those claims, allow the developer to obtain the lease, and position this project to become an engine of economic opportunity in The Bronx.”
EXCLUSIVE: KNIC Files Suit Against City [Norwood News]