CIty Concludes Bedford Armory Redevelopment Will Not Further Gentrify Crown Heights

An aerial rendering of the proposed Bedford-Union Armory redevelopment.

The City has come to the official conclusion that the proposed Bedford Union Armory development will not cause further gentrification in Crown Heights.

That after the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) released their Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) on the proposed plan last week as part of the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), and which found that no resident would be “directly or indirectly displaced” due to the projects proposed housing plan.

The Bedford-Union Armory as it stands today.

As it stands, the proposal includes a 330-unit rental housing building with 50 percent affordable housing for low- and middle-income families, as well as 56 market-rate condominiums, of which 20 percent will be affordable to middle-income homeowners.

According, to the FEIS statement, these condominiums will not in any way impact the residents already living in the area.

“The Proposed Actions would not result in significant adverse impacts due to indirect residential displacement. According to the CEQR Technical Manual, indirect displacement of a residential population most often occurs when an action increases property values, and thus rents, making it difficult for some of the existing residents to continue to afford to live in the area,” according to the FEIS.

Additionally, the City believes that there has not been an increase in rent rates or income levels in the area and as result, believes the proposed housing project would not add nor create a such a trend with the market-rate condominiums planned for the site.

“The Proposed Actions would introduce up to 415 DUs [dwelling units] to the study area, of which 191 would be developed as affordable units. Preliminary analysis found that there is an observable trend towards increasing rents and property values within the study area,” according to the FEIS.

The FEIS also found, “Though the Proposed Actions would generate a residential development with over 200 units, the study area population would increase by less than 5%, which per the CEQR Technical Manual is not large enough to be considered a contributing factor toward a readily observable trend of increasing rents that would result in indirect residential displacement.

“In addition, the Proposed Development would introduce only a small fraction of new units in comparison to the overall volume of existing housing and new residential units being developed within a 0.25-mile of the Project Site. For these reasons, the residential units generated by the Proposed Actions would not result in indirect residential displacement by introducing a trend or accelerating a trend that may potentially displace a vulnerable population to the extent that the socioeconomic character of the neighborhood would change.”   

The proposed condominiums have been a sticking point for many opponents of the project, including City Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights) and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams who both have publicly come out against the condominiums.

Just last month, Adams recommended against the city approving the proposed redevelopment of the Bedford Union Armory in Crown Heights on the grounds that the mixed-use proposal should not include any condos.

The Bedford Union Armory currently sits on city-owned land, that many feel should remain accessible to local residents in the form of additional affordable housing.

According to the developers of the site, BFC partners, the market-rate condos are to subsidize the affordable housing units and recreational facility as part of the plan.

The City Planning Commission will vote on the proposal next Monday at their review session of the plan before it heads to the City Council for a final vote.  

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