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Bedford-Union Armory Project May Be Going Back To The Drawing Board

Bedford-Union Armory Terminal

After being voted down by the local community board, the Bedford-Union Armory redevelopment project is in serious jeopardy.

The vacant Crown Heights armory is owned by New York City, which selected BFC Partners to redevelop it into a multifamily project with community recreation. The developer proposed a plan for 330 apartments, half of which would be designated affordable housing, with 56 condos, of which 20% would be affordable housing, and a recreation center with a swimming pool, tennis courts and an indoor soccer field. The plan was unanimously rejected by Community Board 9, Prospect Heights Patch reports.

The vote comes a week after the board's land use committee also unanimously voted against BFC's plan. The two votes were the first steps of the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, with the next being a vote by the city council. Crown Heights' councilmember, Laurie Cumbo, has indicated she will vote against the plan as currently constructed.

Foremost among the community board's concerns at the vote, which was attended by a mass of protestors, was that the project needed a larger affordable housing component. In its current form, 30% of apartments will be held for families making less than 110% of the area median income, with 20% of apartments held for families making under 50% of the area median income. Community members, concerned with the rapid gentrification of Crown Heights, argued for the entire project to be affordable, considering it will be built on city land.

Another issue the board had with the plan was the condo portion, which would be sold outright to BFC rather than on a ground lease like the apartments. Community members argued there should not be any condo portion at all. 

"We have heard the community and community board’s concerns loud and clear and we are working hard alongside the city and local stakeholders to make this project even better," BFC said in a statement.

In March, the nonprofit Local Development Corp. of Crown Heights signed on as co-developer of the project, with the goal of establishing a fund for affordable housing and ensuring local, union labor is used for the project.