Revised Bedford Union Armory deal passes committee
by Benjamin Fang
Nov 28, 2017 | 2146 views | 1 1 comments | 106 106 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A controversial plan to develop the Bedford Union Armory in Crown Heights is one step closer to reality.

Last week, the City Council’s Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions voted to pass a revised deal to create housing, a recreation center and community space at the site. It’s expected to get final approval in a full City Council vote this week.

The agreement, brokered by Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo, the city and developer BFC Partners, would bring deeper levels of affordability and no market-rate condominiums, which was slated in the original proposal.

“I am proud to announce my support for a dramatically revised Bedford Union Armory project, which will provide the greatest level of low-income and affordable housing that the Crown Heights community has seen in a decade,” Cumbo said.

Under the new plan, more than 400 apartments will be all rental units instead of a rental-condo mix. The Crown Heights site will remain publicly owned, officials aid.

The new proposal also includes more units of affordable housing. While the original plan included just 67 units affordable to a family making $57,000 a year or less, the new plan will have nearly 250 units affordable at that rate or below.

The development will set aside 10 percent of affordable housing, or 25 units, for formerly homeless families.

The Armory’s Drill Shed will be converted into a recreation center with three full-size basketball courts, a multipurpose court for activities like indoor soccer, and a six-lane, 25-meter indoor swimming pool.

As part of the negotiations, half of the memberships at the rec center will be reserved for community members at a discounted rate of $10 a month for adults and $8 for children under 16.

The operator of the center will be required to provide additional community benefits valued at $1.25 million per year, such as discounted space rentals and classes.

Office space will be available to local nonprofits at $6 per square foot, which is roughly 20 percent of the market-rate rent in the area, which is typically $30 per square foot. Rent increases for nonprofits will be capped at 3 percent annually.

BFC Partners has committed to a goal of dedicating 25 percent of construction jobs to minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs), and has reached a deal with the service union 32BJ for building service jobs.

Finally, the developer will pursue an additional 20,000 square feet of community space for Brooklyn Medical Plaza, which will provide health care services in the community.

A community advisory committee will be created to help with programming for the rec center and addressing other local needs.

“We are proud to help transform the Bedford Union Armory from a vacant building into a vibrant community space that will provide a state-of-the-art recreation center, affordable offices and deeply affordable housing for Crown Heights,” said Don Capoccia, principal of BFC Partners.

The new deal won praise from local elected officials such as Assemblyman Walter Mosley and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, who lauded the removal of condos and the deeper affordability levels.

“Our community will continue to stand together and fight together for advancing Crown Heights forward as a safe place where everyone can raise healthy children and families,” said Borough President Eric Adams.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose administration has been pushing the redevelopment project, also considered the vote a victory.

“The Bedford Union Armory won’t sit vacant any longer,” he said in a statement. “We’re putting it back into service for Crown Heights as an affordable community rec center and affordable homes. The end result is one this neighborhood can be proud of.”
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December 02, 2017
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