The controversial Bedford Union Armory redevelopment project might be seeing a significant change in the coming weeks.
On Tuesday, the plan came up for discussion at a City Council subcommittee hearing as the City considers the plan for approval. The current proposal on the table has the city giving a 99-year lease to BFC Partners, except for around 50 market-rate condominiums it plans to sell. The developer will then turn the rest of the 138,000-square-foot armory into a state-of-the-art recreational center, spaces for locally based non-profits and 330 mixed income rental units.
At the meeting, the subject of the 50 market-rate condos came up as the president of the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), James Patchett, said the mayor was considering whether it was appropriate to build market-rate condos on any city-owned land, and whether to introduce this as a citywide policy, according to initial reports.
“We are aware that Council Member Cumbo – along with other local leaders and members of the Crown Heights community – have concerns about certain elements of the housing plan, especially the inclusion of market rate condos. That is something we are currently reevaluating, not only in the context of this specific project, but going forward in the policy we will apply citywide to other projects on city owned land. And we will continue to work with Council Member Cumbo to address her concerns with this project,” said Patchett.
The 50 market rate condominiums have been the target of extreme opposition from the local Crown Heights community and elected officials. Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams rejected the plan in September as part of the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) recommending against the city approving the project on the grounds that the mixed-use proposal should remain 100 percent city-owned and not include any condos.
According to BFC Partners, the condos are to subsidize the costs of the 138,000-foot recreational center that will include basketball courts, a swimming pool and affordable office space.
EDC went on to note that at the moment they are in discussion with City Council member Laurie Cumbo (D-Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Crown Heights) and are exploring options to the condos as the ULURP process moves forward.
Earlier this year, Cumbo pulled her support for the project after claiming the plan did not meet the needs of the community. She went on to vow that she would not let public land be used for luxury condominiums.
Cumbo did not make a statement in time for this post.