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