The Narrative of the UAMA Auto Business Readiness Project & Vertical Auto Merchant’s Building (VAMB)
Since the rezoning for the Jerome/Cromwell/Inwood Ave corridor is now a rancorous reality, the majority if not all the auto related businesses as well as a huge variety of others business located in that sector are going to be displaced. Up-to-date, the plans neither developed nor intends on developing assist the automotive businesses from being displaced. Auto related businesses are required to operate in a C8-M1-2 zone. Businesses in the affected area were traditionally operating in a horizontal way occupying a long strip of space. The Jerome Ave corridor covers over 2 miles, housing aproximally 200 auto related businesses and about 600 other businesses.
The City of New York rezoned the Jerome/Cromwell/Inwood Ave Corridor into a residential zone to build 4000+ apartment units. Formerly the area was not zoned for residential housing. Understandably, now that it was rezoned, all the auto related businesses located in that zone are going to be in code violation and eventually displaced. UAMA has been working with and advocating on behalf of auto merchants for over a decade.
UAMA has had a negative experience with the City of New York before when we stood in defense of the Willets Point, Queens, NY auto merchants who were displaced based on the city enforcing its imminent domain privilege. 45 of those businesses formed the Sunrise cooperative and were awarded $5.8 million by the Supreme Court for their relocation. EDC was in charge of the relocation and the retrofitting of the 1080 Leggett Ave project for those 45 businesses according to information obtained from Marco Neira the president of Sunrise. The plan was mismanaged, and it turned into a fiasco. Today all those 45 businesses are in the street out of business.
Based on that negative experience, UAMA has developed this plan.
UAMA have developed a 5-year plan that originally will prepare merchants to relocate to a permanent location where they will grow and thrive. This permanent location has been carefully envisioned to remedy the burden placed upon the small businesses located in the rezoned areas where the much needed housing complexes are being built all around the City to keep up with the demand for living space.
The Vertical Auto Merchants Building (VAMB) envisioned by Pedro J. Estevez president & founder of UAMA and his son PJ Jr. with the idea of Horizontal vs Vertical.
This vertical building concept will accommodate all the businesses displaced from the entire Jerome/Cromwell/Inwood Ave corridor housing over 200 businesses in 1or 2 vertically built units in an Industrial Business Zone where they can be housed permanently, where each merchant can own their own space and manage their own state of the art facility.
The envisioned VAMB will consist of shopping retail space as well as serving as an auto industry service center:
This concept is not the ultimate plan
1- Basement- customer parking to shop, eat or for customers of auto service repairs
2- Ground floor – regular stores inside and outside of ground floor, auto related offices, information and waiting area, elevators to go to auto businesses located upstairs.
3- Second floor – auto repairs shops
4- Third floor – body repair and paint shops
5- Fourth floor – tire / glass shops
6- Fifth floor – sound/security- upholstery- tinted window- car detailing
7- Roof – auto dealers – building equipment- solar panels
This VAMB will consist of state of the art technology and equipment to provide the most up-to-date service by Auto Service Excellence certified (ASE) technicians, utilizing the latest diagnostic and repair tools. This VAMB building will be completely environmentally friendly meeting all City, State and Federal Auto Service Industry Operating Regulations.
For more information please contact UAMA’s main office.
The auto mechanic industry has suffered a history of displacement and neglect in New York City. Following the Willets Point redevelopment, 45 auto repair shops had to move to the Bronx and are now in bankruptcy. The impending Jerome Avenue rezoning is likely to precipitate a similar scenario without intervention. The rezoning will have a significant impact on the approximately 200 auto-related businesses in the area, causing most to be displaced as hundreds of workers and their dependents lose their livelihoods. The City has predicted that 72% of existing auto businesses are at risk of displacement by new housing and with no support, the remaining merchants will have to compete with new higher- rent-paying commercial tenants, leading to more businesses being pushed out. As a decade long advocate and technical assistance provider for Bronx and NYC auto repair shops, UAMA is uniquely positioned to address the challenges of Jerome/Cromwell Avenue corridor auto merchants/mechanics and has developed a multi-pronged short-term intervention to strengthen their capacity and prepare auto-related businesses for dislocation in anticipation of the rezoning of the area.
“Despite providing an important source of employment, auto businesses are often under threat from changing land uses, rising real estate prices, and hostile permitting conditions.”
— Under the Hood A Look into New York City’s Auto Repair Industry, February 2017, Pratt Center for Community Development, in partnership with UAMA and Bronx Coalition for A Community Vision
- Organizing auto businesses to inform them on the rezoning process, acting as their advocate with the City of New York.
- Conducting one-on-one technical assistance to businesses to address the challenges in navigating regulations and ensure that they are in compliance.
- Conducting business management & administration workshops to owners/managers.
- Providing training and educational programs for auto business employees and local residents interested in careers in the auto sector.
As a longer term and sustainable strategy, UAMA seeks to develop a Vertical Auto Merchants Building for businesses that need to be relocated from Jerome Avenue.
ABOUT THE VERTICAL AUTO MERCHANTS BUILDING (VAMB)
The concept for the Vertical Auto Merchants Building was developed by Pedro J. Estevez, President and Founder of UAMA and his son PJ Jr. The solution, which minimizes the footprint of hundreds of shops, is designed to accommodate all the businesses displaced from the Jerome/Cromwell/Inwood Ave corridor in one development. The building will serve as a one-stop shop for clients and include retail space in its ground level, making it a family-friendly destination. The building will be constructed according to green building standards and meet all City, State and Federal Auto Service Industry Operating Regulations. Its small footprint will further minimize environmental impact. The VAMB will house state of the art technology and equipment and offer service by Auto Service Excellence (ASE) certified technicians utilizing the latest diagnostic and repair tools.
- Prevents loss of jobs and shop closures due to displacement, creates additional job opportunities that offer living wages for low-income individuals with limited educational backgrounds.
- Supports the city’s tax base through the formalization of hundreds of businesses.
- Includes solutions to environmental pollution issues in the auto repair industry.
- Offers training opportunities for workforce, including industry-recognized certifications.
- Leads to improved customer service.
- Develops a replicable model for NYC and other cities.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Pedro Estevez, President & Founder 1332 Commerce Avenue, Bronx, NY 10461
UAMA Location & Hours
3505 E. Tremont Ave 2nd Floor
Bronx, NY 10465
Office: (631) 380-8262
Fax: (646) 401-8939
M-F: 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sat: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM