The full City Council is set to approve redevelopment of the Bedford Union Armory in Crown Heights next week after the proposed condos in the plan was taken out and the affordable housing component was greatly increased.
The original plan called for 330 rental apartments, half of them market rate — and half considered affordable with rents as high as $2,135 a month. That plan additionally called for 56 condos, 80% of them market rate.
Under the new deal, the condos – a major bone of contention with many in the community – have been taken out of the project, and there will be an increase of rental apartments to 400 with 250 of them considered affordable with rents ranging from about $521 to $1,166 for a two bedroom.
“The Bedford Union Armory won’t sit vacant any longer. 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. We worked with Council Member [Laurie] Cumbo to hone the project, adding nearly 100 affordable apartments and removing market-rate condos. We look forward to the day the armory reopens it doors as a resource to this community,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Cumbo (D-Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Crown Heights), who in the last few months had been resisting the plan for the city-owned property, threw her support behind the project, which then led the Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions, and Concession to vote unanimously in approval.
“I fought to remove 48 luxury condominiums, deepened the bands of affordability by securing approximately 250 housing units for low-income and formerly homeless families – quadrupling the affordable housing that was proposed in the original plan,” said Cumbo.
According to the developers of the project, BFC Partners, the luxury condos were initially proposed as part of the plan in order to subsidize the costs of the 138,000-foot recreational center that will include basketball courts, a swimming pool and affordable office space.
This need was apparently assuaged after the city kicked in about $50 million in additional subsidies to get the project across the finish line.
The new plan has also been amended under the negotiations with Cumbo that will now require that the mixed-use space be accessible to all members of the Crown Heights community. At least 50% of memberships for the recreational center will be reserved for community members at discounted rates of just $10 a month for adults and $8 for a child under 16.
Affordable office space will be available to non-profits at just $6 per square foot and rent increases will be capped at 3% annually.
In addition a community advisory committee will be created to help plan programming for the recreation center to ensure the needs of the local community are met throughout the life of the project.
Assemblyman Walter T. Mosley (D-Fort Green, Clinton Hill) applauded Cumbo’s negotiations, praising the increased affordability in the project and the amended plans investment in the local community.
“I know that the Councilwoman will continue to work with her colleagues in an effort to ensure that we provide our communities with the recreation center we so desperately need for our young people. Likewise, the addition to the affordable housing unit our local neighborhoods so desperately need and deserve. Negotiations also produced much need space for local non-profit community based organizations. I look forward to my ongoing assistance with the Councilwoman as we seek to address and add additional subsidies in our attempt to make this truly a sustainable project for current and like-minded Brooklynites to come,” said Mosley.
The amended agreement, passed by a vote of 16-1 in committee, and the full by the full City Council is expected to approve the project at next week stated meeting.