BFC Partners, the developer of the proposed repurposing of the Bedford Union Armory In Crown Heights, today announced a new partnership with 32BJ SEIU – the largest property service union in the country – that will provide local residents with the training and resources needed to become doormen, porters, janitors, security officers, superintendents and pursue other middle-class careers.
The training program will be overseen jointly by BFC Partners and 32BJ and will be officially launched alongside Crown Heights community stakeholders later this year.
“We are proud to work with 32BJ to make the revitalization of the Bedford-Union Amory a win-win for residents and workers in the Crown Heights community,” said Don Capoccia, principal at BFC Partners. “Our long-term partnership with 32BJ will also provide local residents with new pathways to the middle class for themselves and their families.”
“Our shared commitment to revitalize the Bedford-Union Armory will bring family-sustaining jobs to Crown Heights and empower hardworking families,” said Kyle Bragg, secretary-treasurer of 32BJ SEIU. “We are excited to collaborate with BFC Partners on a local training program that will help even more Crown Heights residents gain good jobs and career opportunities.”
The redevelopment of the City-owned Armory will include a new 67,000-square-foot recreational space with basketball courts, multi-sport courts and a competitive-length swimming pool to serve local youth sports leagues, senior programs and others.
It also includes commercial office space – some of which will be offered at discounted rates for local small businesses and non-profits in need of affordable rents. Six local non-profits have already signed onto some of this space enabling them to provide free or low-cost programming to Crown Heights and the Central Brooklyn community. They are Brooklyn Community Pride Center; Digital Girl, Inc.; Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy; the James E. Davis Stop the Violence Foundation; New Heights Youth and the West Indian American Day Carnival Association.
The Armory will also include a 330-unit rental housing building with 50 percent affordable housing, as well as new condominiums, of which 20 percent will be affordable to middle-income homeowners.
The housing component of the project remains the controversial part of the project as several lawmakers and longtime community residents want the entire housing portion to be affordable. Their arguments for this include the armory is city-owned, and therefore should be on the top of Mayor De Blasio‘s list to build affordable housing, and that making so much market-rate housing will only spur the already spiraling up gentrification of Crown Heights that is pushing out many longtime residents.