Informing the community without favoritism or alignments.

UAMA Announces GoFundMe Campaign To Raise Funds For New Elite Auto Tech Training Center

By Mauricio Rocha

The students of the 2012 Elite Auto Tech Training Center graduating class learning in action

BRONX—NEW YORK–The United Auto Merchants Association, UAMA needs the public’s help to raise funds to build a new automotive and technical school to train the auto mechanics in the NYC area and beyond. We are launching a crowdfunding campaign through GoFundMe. Your donation will help secure the materials needed for our students to gain an education in their respective fields.

The United Auto Merchants Association is a 501 C 3 nonprofit that was founded by Pedro J. Estevez in 2007 with the intention to specialize in strengthening the automotive industry. UAMA has made a difference for years, since the Elite Auto Tech Training Center graduated its first class in 2012. UAMA is in the process of building the new Elite Auto Tech Training Center that will be the first of its kind. This institution will be a state-of-the-art auto training school, specializing in the automotive fields, complete with tools, instructors, and all materials needed to help students gain the knowledge they deserve. UAMA prioritizes helping Latino, minority, and women-owned small businesses. At the Elite Auto Tech Training Center, students will gain knowledge through 62 specialized seminars ranging in topics from Fundamentals of Electronics to Hybrid Vehicles. Once auto technicians are fully trained, they can go on to help create jobs, stimulate the local economy, and preserve the local environment and communities at large.

Students at the Elite Auto Tech Training Center learning in action

This new training center will positively impact the community of the Bronx and beyond. This ambitious feat will not come without hard work, and we are prepared to put in the time, energy, and effort as we always have, supporting minority and woman-owned small businesses in the community. Due to the demand and need from the community, we feel that establishing our own Elite Auto Tech Training Center for auto mechanics and students is the best solution possible: but we cannot do it alone. Please donate, however big or small you wish, by visiting our Go Fund Me page. Click here to donate now. Please let us know if you have any questions, comments or concerns. Thank you for your contributions.

UAMA Joins Jerome Avenue Partnership to Work to Resolve Rezoning Issues

UAMA President and Founder, Pedro J Estevez attends a meeting for the Jerome Avenue Partnership.

By Mauricio Rocha

New York–On October 24, 2019 The United Auto Merchants Association (UAMA) joined the The Jerome Avenue Partnership for a meeting to brainstorm solutions to the gentrification crisis happening to the Jerome Avenue Corridor. President and founder of UAMA, Pedro Estevez, represented his association at the meeting. UAMA is dedicated to achieving a resolution in this ongoing battle, where many Latino, minority, and women owned businesses will be priced out of their shops and homes on Jerome Avenue. Many auto-businesses have been there for over ten years and wish to continue in their industries there. The diverse community is made up of various cultures including immigrant-owned businesses from Latin Americans and West Africans.

An associate from JobsFirstNYC said, “The Jerome Avenue Corridor has been rezoned and that means many of the businesses that are in the neighborhood will no longer be in the neighborhood, post rezoning. Lots of people will be impacted by this whether it is housing, venues, or businesses. This corridor is one of the last few places in the city that is still predominantly mom-and-pop stores, not big box stores, and that is going to change with rezoning. What does that mean for this community? That means people that have lived or worked in this community for decades may be displaced. This partnership was formed to bring together the local stakeholders, institutions, and community residents to really think about we can do together to alleviate some of that pain from rezoning.”

“The mission of the Jerome Avenue Partnership will bring about inclusive economic growth and sustainability for local residents, employers, and workers impacted by the Jerome Avenue rezoning. We hope to prepare current employers and workers for this impact and increase the retainment, employment and education of current residents. We want to make sure local residents are aware of these opportunities. The city has lots of opportunities to roll out in conjunction with the rezoning. There is an ongoing debate between gentrification and revitalization of a community, and we want to be sure we are revitalizing this community,” said the associate from JobsFirstNYC.

Of the approximately 1000 different businesses located on Jerome Avenue, 200 of them are automotive businesses, approximately. The automotive industry is the industry with the largest concentration on Jerome Avenue, accounting for 20% of the total businesses. These 200 automotive businesses range from auto repair shops, tire shops, auto sound and security, auto glass shops, auto dealerships and parking lots. The rest of the businesses on the Jerome Avenue Corridor range from 23 different industries, such as: barbershops, salons, bodegas, bars, clubs, banks, retail stores, and more. UAMA is advocating to include the local residents and employees in this discussion, at a time when the face of the community is changing

At the meeting we brainstormed ways to solve the ongoing issues plaguing the Jerome Avenue Corridor, including workforce development, economic development, and structure. This ongoing dialogue is a way to engage the community and make sure their voice and perspectives are being heard. The Jerome Avenue Partnership is working with developers to secure a set amount of jobs for local residents and to secure proper training and skills that can carry on to other positions, if they choose to change professions.

“I know Pedro is working diligently with the auto-workers who are disproportionately impacted by the rezoning of Jerome Avenue. We are trying to think about what the next chapter for those auto-workers is,” said an associate from JobsFirstNYC.

One idea is coming up with a hub, or a center where members of the Jerome Avenue community can go to seek assistance with their displacement, rising rent costs, and other struggles dealing with the rezoning. We also want to make sure that everyone has access to the opportunities the Jerome Avenue Partnership offers to residents. Stay tuned for more updates on this ongoing topic that is a major concern to the borough of the Bronx and beyond.

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.

The Narrative of the UAMA Auto Business Readiness Project & Vertical Auto Merchant’s Building (VAMB)

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.

VERTICAL AUTO MERCHANTS BUILDING (VAMB)

 

Background:

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

 The short-term strategy involves:
  • 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.

VAMP Floors UAMA

ANTICIPATED BENEFITS:

  • 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

631-380-8262 – pj.estevez@uamanys.org – www.uamanys.org

“This is the beginning of the End” Julio

 

 

 

IMG_0604

After surviving decades of hardship to remain in business, the planned rezoning for the Jerome Avenue corridor is threatening the continued existence of the automotive repair community.

After surviving decades of hardship to remain in business, the planned rezoning for the Jerome Avenue corridor is threatening the continued existence of the automotive repair community.

After enduring the burning of the south Bronx and being ignored by local and federal agencies that provided no support or resources for community/business development, hundreds of merchants in the Jerome Avenue corridor are being forced out and again being left to fend for themselves.

The City of NY is planning to rezone the Jerome Ave corridor where the majority of these small Latino and minority owned automotive businesses have called home for over a quarter of a century.

This rezoning plan places all of these businesses in danger of shutting down and losing their life investment and the livelihood that their families depend on.

As you speak to the merchants, it is widely evident along the avenue that without support or a coordinated plan, displacing these merchants will force many of them to go out of business.

While the rezoning plan has not been fully approved, the merchants are already being forced out by the current landlords who are cashing in by selling their buildings to developers.

The City of New York is not taking into serious consideration and respecting the fact that most of these small businesses have operated well within their industry guidelines, have paid their due taxes and operating fees and have employed over 2500 people/residents from all over The Bronx/city.

I believe in and support the community and economic development necessary to help raise the quality of life of Bronx residents and all New Yorkers.

But, I also believe that this new affordable housing and business SHOULD NOT be achieved by displacing all of the businesses that currently exist throughout the corridor.

A transition plan that includes true merchant input is without question, necessary for an honest and equitable transition.

This plan must also include assistance with relocation costs, compliance issues, equipment upgrades and staff/management training.

This is the only way that this Rezoning Plan will really work for all involved.

Let’s not repeat in The Bronx what happened to the merchants in Queens!

This is my humble opinion.

Pedro J. Estevez
President and Founder
United Auto Merchants Association

City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer takes a walk around the neighborhood of Jerome Avenue accompanied of the President of United Auto Merchants Association, Mr. Pedro J. Estevez.

City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer takes a walk around the neighborhood of Jerome Avenue accompanied of the President of United Auto Merchants Association, Mr. Pedro J. Estevez.
The nature of the visit is to find how the automotive community feels about the slated rezoning of the Jerome avenue corridor.

Meeting with the Bronx Collision