Informing the community without favoritism or alignments.

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.




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.



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.



Pedro Estevez, President & Founder 1332 Commerce Avenue, Bronx, NY 10461

631-380-8262 – –

“This is the beginning of the End” Julio





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

Graduate Students from UAMA Training Center




Auto hub housing 45 businesses to set up shop in the Bronx

The industrial park facility will have 45 businesses that range from body repairs to oil changes on Leggett Avenue in Hunts Point. (10/6/15)
THE BRONX – An 84,000-square foot facility that houses over 40 auto businesses is set to open in the Bronx.
The industrial park facility will have 45 businesses that range from body repairs to oil changes on Leggett Avenue in Hunts Point.
The businesses were pushed out by the city’s Economic Development Corp. in Queens.
MORE: Bronx Top Stories | Trending Stories
Pedro Estevez, president of the United Auto Merchants, says he is looking for two other industrial parks to house 200 more auto businesses.
He says affordable housing units are being built on Jerome and Cromwell avenues where over 200 auto business currently reside. He says those businesses are going to be displaced because there is no other place to build there.
The grand opening for the auto facility is scheduled for January. Shortly after, businesses will start to move in.

Source: News12 The Bronx

NY News 12 (The Bronx): Dozens of auto repair shops coming to the Bronx

THE BRONX – More than 40 auto repair shops will soon be coming to the Bronx.
Pedro Estevez is the president and CEO of the United Auto Merchants Association. He plans to create a model for the automotive industry, the likes of which have never been seen.

“What I envision is to have an automotive center where every business is going to be closely monitored, full compliance and trained… and taught how to manage their business properly,”

Estevez says.

He hopes to start the center in an industrial zone of Hunts Point. The first 45 occupants will be auto shops relocating from Queens, whose owners say they were forced out by the city’s Economic Development Corporation.
The Queens businesses formed Sunrise Co-op, sued the city and were awarded more than $5 million, which will go toward the new state-of-the-art facility.

As crews work to get a vacant building ready for the nearly four dozen shop owners, community leaders still have some concerns regarding the move when it comes to added traffic in the area. Co-op City officials say the location will not cause any additional traffic jams.

The Hunts Point facility is expected to bring at least 100 jobs.

Officials say the businesses should be moved in by early 2016.

Source: News 12 (The Bronx)

Sunrise Co-op Press Conference

Pedro Estevez, president of the United Auto Merchants Association, said he’s an expert in licensing and permits and believes there is “stonewalling” from the DOB, which he claims is “in cahoots” with the Bronx borough government, which wants to “chase them out of the city.”

“The Mayor of New York had the authority to tell the Department of Buildings, give them a letter of no objection,” Estevez said. “But if you don’t give them their permits to bring this up to code, how are they going to do it? … We are hardworking people over here that deserve an opportunity to drive instead of strive.”

Sunrise Cooperative, consisting of tenant businesses being evicted from Willets Point, Queens, calls upon Council Member Julissa Ferreras to not abandon Sunrise’s effort to relocate to the Bronx, Mayor Bill de Blasio to intercede, and alleges a lack of diligence by the Urban Justice Center concerning the Bronx relocation site, at this press conference held on June 1, 2015 in Willets Point.

In English and Spanish.
Recording © 2015 LoScalzo Media Design LLC. Reproduction prohibited.

Auto shops near arrival date in Hunts Point

45 parts and repair businesses eye move to Leggett Street within months

After more than a year of delays, renovations have begun on a Leggett Ave. warehouse where 45 controversial new auto repair shops are scheduled to move in before the end of the year.

The formerly Queens-based businesses are a step closer to occupying the industrially zoned corner of Hunts Point, after a series of bureaucratic hurdles and legal entanglements had slowed their arrival. They have been trying to relocate from the Willets Point section of Queens near Citi Field since 2013, when the city announced plans for a massive development project on the approximately 22-acre space the auto shops occupied.

While in Queens, the shops were often criticized for creating dangerous sanitation problems due to improper dumping of automotive waste on streets that were littered with broken-down vehicles, and that lacked a sewage system.

The collective that represents 70 of the businesses, the Sunrise Cooperative, has been pushing the city’s Economic Development Corp. to accelerate the move because their livelihoods have been disrupted, they say. EDC had been paying $73,000 per month in rent for Sunrise’s space in the 84,000 square foot warehouse since cutting the deal with the landlord in February 2014, although the space has been unused since then due to a pre-existing building violation.

Now that construction has finally been approved, the businesses say they will bring a state-of-the-art, one-stop shop for all kinds of auto repair that will be a boon for Hunts Point.

“We’re going to create a model of the automotive industry that has never been done before,” said Pedro Estevez, president of the non-profit United Auto Merchants Association, who helped negotiate the move with the city.

The building at 1080 Leggett Ave. is also home to a wholesale supply company and the local branch of a large truck manufacturer. Customers will drive through a back entrance on Barry Street and up a ramp into the warehouse, where they’ll be able to get new tires, body work, engine repairs and other services all in one place.

Community Board 2, which criticized the move when it was announced, said EDC did not provide residents adequate notice about the plan. Some say it is a slap in the face for Hunts Point, which has struggled for decades to overcome traffic and environmental problems caused by the trucking fleets that serve the food distribution markets, along with other industrial facilities.

“What we’re trying to do is upgrade Hunts Point, make Hunts Point more environmentally friendly. Bringing in more car shops means more cars, more pollution,” said Board 2′s District Manager Rafael Salamanca, adding that the board has met multiple times with Sunrise representatives, and will be paying close attention to ensure they’re good neighbors.

Estevez insisted that the renovations will modernize the warehouse and prevent the kinds of problems the shops were notorious for in Queens. Each business will get stalls with separate electrical and water hook-ups, along with ventilation and an oil separation system for the sewer.

“We need to change the landscape of the business. We need to change the image,” he said.

The businesses took over payments on the 10-year lease in March from EDC, which provided the majority of the funds from a $5.8 million legal settlement that Sunrise had filed against the city. EDC has also made available approximately $6.5 million in relocation funds to all the displaced Willets Point auto businesses.

Cole Rosengren
The back entrance to 1080 Leggett Ave., where new businesses say customers will be able to drive in for a range of services.
On a recent weekday, construction workers were grinding, welding and clanking around the space. The framework for a few business stalls was already evident and metal beams were piled on the floor. Car parts, supplies and tools were being stored, along with a few vehicles. Once renovations are complete, Sunrise can apply for a new certificate of occupancy so it can officially open its doors to customers.

City Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo, who has participated in discussions between Sunrise’s representatives and borough and city officials, said the predominantly Latino business owners deserve the community’s support.

It’s heartbreaking,” she said, in an interview with the Express. “I don’t see why we can’t rise above and help them transition.

Some local auto-related business owners in Hunts Point and Longwood anonymously expressed concerns over the increased competition, but said they feel powerless to prevent the move. The owner of a towing company in Soundview echoed owners’ worries.

“I don’t think it’s fair for the Hunts Point community, but it’s New York,” said Jon Diaz, owner of Empire State Towing.

Sunrise members said many new customers will be drawn to the new shops’ affordable prices, ultimately benefiting other Hunts Point and Longwood existing auto shops.

We’re going to bring more business to these people,” said Marco Neira, the president of Sunrise Cooperative. “For sure we cannot handle all the customers.

Scott Barzvi, owner of BB Paint Distributors supply store on nearby Southern Boulevard, agreed the additions may help his bottom line.

“If there are more body shops, there will be more business coming,” he said.

Noe Cortez, owner of Master Car Care, said his loyal customers will continue coming to him.

This industry is about knowing the person who’s doing the work,” he said, equating a good mechanic with a reliable barber or dentist. “I don’t really worry much about other places.

Although 45 businesses comprise the current batch of newcomers, Sunrise Cooperative’s full roster includes an additional 25, out of the 300 businesses that are being exiled from Queens. About 150 of those already moved to other parts of the city in June, but the others will soon need a place to go. No official relocation plans have been made for them, but Estevez said he is eyeing Hunts Point and the Zerega Industrial Park as options.

To further complicate matters for owners in the business, more than 200 auto shops currently operating north of Yankee Stadium along Jerome Ave. may soon be forced to move as the city prepares for a major rezoning of that neighborhood a few miles west of Hunts Point.

Estevez say the city will meet resistance from working class residents as it continues trying to replace small auto shops with residential developments.

“It’s going to be devastating for the automotive industry,” he said. “What they’re doing is gentrifying the city of New York block by block, borough by borough, and they’re not going to succeed.”

By Cole Rosengren
– See more at: The Hunts Point Express