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City Council Allocates Funding for Jerome Avenue’s Auto Mechanics Training

UAMA President and Founder, Pedro J. Estevez meeting NYC District 16 Council Member, Vanessa L. Gibson.


BRONX–OCTOBER 02, 2019 —New York City Council representatives stimulate the local automotive industry. For the 2019/2020 fiscal year, New York City Council members Vanessa L. Gibson, representing the 16th District of New York City, allocated $10,000 while Fernando Cabrera, representing the 14th District of New York City, allocated $18,000, both of which are for the United Auto Merchants Association (UAMA) to train 12 auto mechanics from the Jerome Avenue rezone area known as the Jerome Avenue Corridor, which consists of over 400 mechanics working in this neighborhood. Over 175 of these mechanics have signed an application, confirming their interest in expanding their knowledge and training in automotive technology.
This much needed funding will make a huge impact in the lives of the 12 mechanics, who will be trained in the latest automotive technology, enriching their capabilities of how to repair vehicles in the future. This will simultaneously prepare them for the Auto Service Excellence (ASE) certification exam. Once auto students pass the ASE exam, they will be nationally qualified as automotive technicians. UAMA has been advocating on behalf of these mechanics for years and welcomes this opportunity to create an impact in their community.
At the same time, other city council members like Andrew Cohen, who represents the 11th District of New York City, allocated $2,500 to select 100 business to be part of a borough-wide compliance program. UAMA has been helping with compliance in the Jerome Corridor area of the Bronx for over ten years. We hope this will inspire other elected officials to continue to support the innovative work in the automotive field.

Respectfully from the Desk of:
Pedro J. Estevez
UAMA Founder and President

UAMA President and Founder, Pedro J. Estevez, meeting NYC District 14 Council Member, Fernando Cabrera.

UAMA President and Founder, Pedro J. Estevez, Interviewed for Alexander Shapanka’s Dissertation

Zoning Out Jerome Avenue’s Auto Industry

Click the above link to access the 35 page dissertation.

The United Auto Merchant Association (UAMA) President and Founder, Pedro J. Estevez, spoke with writer and student Alexander Shapanka for his dissertation: “Zoning Out Jerome Avenue’s Auto Industry.” This is an in-depth look at the rezoning and gentrification happening on Jerome Avenue in the Bronx, NY, and what detrimental effects can occur in the community. Since UAMA has a close relationship with the automotive industry, particularly in the Bronx, Estevez is a clear expert on the subject.

Seeking Solutions to the Problems Caused by the Rezoning of the Jerome Avenue Corridor

NYC District 13 Councilman, Mark Gjonaj, and United Auto Merchants Association (UAMA) President, Pedro J. Estevez.

Originally by Victor Gomez in Spanish, translated by Pedro Estevez into English.

New York City District 13 Councilman, and Chair of the Small Business Committee of NYC, Mark Gjonaj, met with the President of the United Auto Merchants Association (UAMA), Pedro J. Estévez, to find a solution to the problem caused by the rezoning of the Jerome Ave corridor.             

In this meeting the council member showed interest in the Estévez’s ideas, which consist of the construction of an Automotive Industry Center (auto mall) where these small companies will be located in the “vertical form and not horizontal” as they currently are in the corridor.

For years Estévez has been advocating for the automotive industry, searching for solutions to the businesses’ problems by the rezoning of sectors like the corridor of Jerome Avenue and other areas of the City.  Estevez explained that if these small businesses were all located in a vertical way, it would  minimize the footprint to a fraction of the size, since over 200 businesses are currently located in an area covering over 2 miles in Jerome Ave in a horizontal way.

The president of UAMA, Estevez, explained to the chair of the Small Business committee and council member of the 13th District,Mark Gjonaj, that these small businesses are being stressed by the City, and to understand that the rezoned corridor of Jerome Avenue places these businesses in danger of displacement and consequently, the loss of their lifelong investments.

Estevez reiterated to the council that the idea of the relocation of these businesses to a vertical location in an Industrial Business Zone (IBZ) where each of these business owners, would be proprietor of their occupying space and ultimately will be the way to end the limitations they have been under for years.  

The City Council welcomed the approach of the UAMA President, Pedro J. Estevez, and recognized his leadership. For more than twelve years he has been educating, advocating, and defending small auto businesses in New York City.

Auto Business Readiness Project

Displaced Willets Point Auto Shops Being Evicted from New Bronx Home

Displaced Willets Point Auto Shops Being Evicted from New Bronx Home

 

By Katie Honan | September 22, 2017 1:51pm | Updated September 25, 2017 8:56am

 Shop owners displaced from Willets Point are now being evicted from their Hunts Point shop. A sign, which translates to

HUNTS POINT — More than three years ago, 45 mechanic and auto-body shops agreed to move from their Willets Point storefronts to a large warehouse in The Bronx, after the city took over their properties for a massive redevelopment of the area.

Now, those shop owners say they’re being evicted from their new home over unpaid rent, after struggling in a location far from their usual customers in the Iron Triangle.

“It’s sad, isn’t it?” Marco Neira, the president of the Sunrise Cooperative, said at a news conference Thursday inside the barren warehouse at 1080 Leggett Ave. “We are in the worst spot right now.”

The cooperative, made up of 45 businesses, received more than $7 million from the city to move the shops to The Bronx and build out a new home for themselves. They turned down individual buyouts and instead chose to pool their money for the new facility, to maintain the one-stop-shopping convenience for drivers looking for repairs.

But since moving to The Bronx, it hasn’t been easy.

The cooperative filed for bankruptcy last fall. And now, after failing to pay months of rent on their large warehouse, they’re getting the boot — and pleading for more help from the city.

“[The city] can stop this,” Pedro Estevez, president of the United Auto Merchants Association (UAMA), said at the news conference Thursday. He said other businesses on Jerome Avenue, which are facing displacement from a separate rezoning, will likely face the same fate.

“You must stop this.”

 

City Councilman Rafael Salamanca who represents the area, said the building’s landlord was at fault for not working with both the city and the businesses to find a solution. Calls to the landlord — Advantage Wholesale Supply, a building maintenance supply company — were not returned.

He also said the city shouldn’t abandon the workers, many of whom have returned to Willets Point to work at other shops or are on public assistance.

“[The city] took over their land, they promised them that they would help them, they promised with a financial commitment,” he said. “That promise has been broken.”

The Economic Development Corporation, which is in charge of the Willets Point development plan and oversaw the stores’ relocation, said it’s done “everything in our power” to keep the Sunrise Cooperative afloat.

After giving the group $7.5 million to renovate the Bronx warehouse, the agency provided an additional $2.4 million “in yet another effort to help keep them afloat,” an EDC spokeswoman said. But the landlord is refusing to accept the additional cash.

“We are surprised and deeply disappointed that the landlord of 1080 Leggett Avenue has been unwilling to accept that offer, and has chosen to evict the co-op rather than work with us to move this project forward,” EDC spokeswoman Stephanie Baez said in a statement.

It’s just the latest issue for the Willets Point development plan, which was approved by the City Council in 2013.

Sunrise Cooperative, an organization with businesses located in phase 1 of the development area, was the only applicant for the Willets Point Business Co-Relocation Fund, officials said.

In March 2014, the group leased 1080 Leggett Ave. with funds from the EDC. Neira, president of the cooperative, later filed a lawsuit against the city and the developers to secure more funding, but eventually agreed to drop it as more businesses began to leave Willets Point.

After moving to The Bronx, Neira said the cooperative found the building had multiple violations, and a plan to build out individual stores for the tenants never came to fruition.

Meanwhile, their former buildings in Willets Point have been razed for a development plan that is currently in limbo.

At a Community Board 7 meeting Monday, representatives from the EDC and the Queens Development Group — which were selected to develop the site — were grilled about the future of the site after an appeals court ruled against the proposed “Willets West” mall plan.

Developers said any work done at Willets Point is contingent on the mall construction, which is now blocked. The entire redevelopment plan could get scrapped by either the city or the developers if they don’t find another way to fund a cleanup of the area.

Neira said their long-neglected Willets Point shops had issues, such as unpaved roads and non-existent utilities — but customers still came, and business was brisk.

The new building in Hunts Point was promising, but they feel deceived, he said.

“Right here we had a beautiful place,” he said, “but in reality we had nothing.”

who represents the area, said the building’s landlord was at fault for not working with both the city and the businesses to find a solution. Calls to the landlord — Advantage Wholesale Supply, a building maintenance supply company — were not returned.

He also said the city shouldn’t abandon the workers, many of whom have returned to Willets Point to work at other shops or are on public assistance.

“[The city] took over their land, they promised them that they would help them, they promised with a financial commitment,” he said. “That promise has been broken.”

The Economic Development Corporation, which is in charge of the Willets Point development plan and oversaw the stores’ relocation, said it’s done “everything in our power” to keep the Sunrise Cooperative afloat.

After giving the group $7.5 million to renovate the Bronx warehouse, the agency provided an additional $2.4 million “in yet another effort to help keep them afloat,” an EDC spokeswoman said. But the landlord is refusing to accept the additional cash.

“We are surprised and deeply disappointed that the landlord of 1080 Leggett Avenue has been unwilling to accept that offer, and has chosen to evict the co-op rather than work with us to move this project forward,” EDC spokeswoman Stephanie Baez said in a statement.

It’s just the latest issue for the Willets Point development plan, which was approved by the City Council in 2013.

Sunrise Cooperative, an organization with businesses located in phase 1 of the development area, was the only applicant for the Willets Point Business Co-Relocation Fund, officials said.

In March 2014, the group leased 1080 Leggett Ave. with funds from the EDC. Neira, president of the cooperative, later filed a lawsuit against the city and the developers to secure more funding, but eventually agreed to drop it as more businesses began to leave Willets Point.

After moving to The Bronx, Neira said the cooperative found the building had multiple violations, and a plan to build out individual stores for the tenants never came to fruition.

Meanwhile, their former buildings in Willets Point have been razed for a development plan that is currently in limbo.

At a Community Board 7 meeting Monday, representatives from the EDC and the Queens Development Group — which were selected to develop the site — were grilled about the future of the site after an appeals court ruled against the proposed “Willets West” mall plan.

Developers said any work done at Willets Point is contingent on the mall construction, which is now blocked. The entire redevelopment plan could get scrapped by either the city or the developers if they don’t find another way to fund a cleanup of the area.

Neira said their long-neglected Willets Point shops had issues, such as unpaved roads and non-existent utilities — but customers still came, and business was brisk.

The new building in Hunts Point was promising, but they feel deceived, he said.

“Right here we had a beautiful place,” he said, “but in reality we had nothing.”

who represents the area, said the building’s landlord was at fault for not working with both the city and the businesses to find a solution. Calls to the landlord — Advantage Wholesale Supply, a building maintenance supply company — were not returned.

He also said the city shouldn’t abandon the workers, many of whom have returned to Willets Point to work at other shops or are on public assistance.

“[The city] took over their land, they promised them that they would help them, they promised with a financial commitment,” he said. “That promise has been broken.”

The Economic Development Corporation, which is in charge of the Willets Point development plan and oversaw the stores’ relocation, said it’s done “everything in our power” to keep the Sunrise Cooperative afloat.

After giving the group $7.5 million to renovate the Bronx warehouse, the agency provided an additional $2.4 million “in yet another effort to help keep them afloat,” an EDC spokeswoman said. But the landlord is refusing to accept the additional cash.

“We are surprised and deeply disappointed that the landlord of 1080 Leggett Avenue has been unwilling to accept that offer, and has chosen to evict the co-op rather than work with us to move this project forward,” EDC spokeswoman Stephanie Baez said in a statement.

It’s just the latest issue for the Willets Point development plan, which was approved by the City Council in 2013.

Sunrise Cooperative, an organization with businesses located in phase 1 of the development area, was the only applicant for the Willets Point Business Co-Relocation Fund, officials said.

In March 2014, the group leased 1080 Leggett Ave. with funds from the EDC. Neira, president of the cooperative, later filed a lawsuit against the city and the developers to secure more funding, but eventually agreed to drop it as more businesses began to leave Willets Point.

After moving to The Bronx, Neira said the cooperative found the building had multiple violations, and a plan to build out individual stores for the tenants never came to fruition.

Meanwhile, their former buildings in Willets Point have been razed for a development plan that is currently in limbo.

At a Community Board 7 meeting Monday, representatives from the EDC and the Queens Development Group — which were selected to develop the site — were grilled about the future of the site after an appeals court ruled against the proposed “Willets West” mall plan.

Developers said any work done at Willets Point is contingent on the mall construction, which is now blocked. The entire redevelopment plan could get scrapped by either the city or the developers if they don’t find another way to fund a cleanup of the area.

Neira said their long-neglected Willets Point shops had issues, such as unpaved roads and non-existent utilities — but customers still came, and business was brisk.

The new building in Hunts Point was promising, but they feel deceived, he said.

“Right here we had a beautiful place,” he said, “but in reality we had nothing.”

News 12 – The Bronx

THE BRONX –  August 19th 2017

Hundreds march against rezoning plans for Jerome Ave.

Hundreds of residents gathered Saturday for a march to voice their displeasure with the city’s rezoning plans for Jerome Avenue.

The Bronx Coalition for a Community Vision gathered at Keltch Park for the march and were represented by labor unions and community groups throughout the Bronx.

Residents say they are frustrated with the city’s plan and believe their requests for career track jobs, deeper affordable housing and anti-displacement policies have been ignored.

Community members released a report during the event that they believe will do more to prevent potential small business displacement along Jerome Avenue.

Some people at the march said they just want the city to consider the requests of the people who live in the Bronx and want what is best for their neighborhoods.