On the heels of a City Council
decision to nix the Kingsbridge Armory mall project over the lack of a living
wage requirement, advocates and elected officials are raising similar concerns
about the Queens Center Mall.
on Sunday, calling it a "poverty wage center," even though it
received $48 million in tax abatements.
seeks public money, they have to give back to the community and the
workers," said Jeff Eichler of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store
elected officials and representatives of the advocacy group Make the Road New York – called on the mall’s parent company, Macerich, to require
increased wages and benefits from its tenants, to allow union organization and
to provide more of its space to community functions.
Kingsbridge Armory mall project when the developer, Related Companies, wouldn’t
agree to require a living wage minimum of $10 an hour with benefits or $11.50
without. Other malls in
do not yet have such requirements, Eichler said, but many municipalities will
not offer tax breaks without them.
Queens Center Mall paid just above the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, according
to a survey by advocates.
highest revenue per square foot of any mall in the
abatements granted between 2004 and 2009, should require action, protesters
likely to get into a lot of trouble," said Andrew Friedman, co-executive director of Make the Road. "But the Queens Center
Mall itself is taking $48 million in public subsidies and they’ve given almost
nothing in return."
policy did not allow for comment on its requirements for tenants."We do not discuss our leases and cannot
comment on behalf of our retailers," Dawn Simon, a senior marketing
manager, wrote in an e-mail.
not provided adequate community use, but Simon said a 1,400-square-foot space
has been used by groups such as
Community Board 4.
(D-Jackson Heights), whose predecessor Helen Sears cast the lone vote for the
Kingsbridge Armory project, said he would continue to push Macerich and other
local developers on behalf of workers.
"This mall has been a Scrooge
to our community," he said. "But if you know what happened in the
story "The Christmas Carol," Scrooge was visited by three ghosts. And
although we are not ghosts, we are going to visit this mall time and time again
until we enforce on this mall the same type of transformation that Scrooge had."