New York City Council Member Laurie Cumbo (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, and Prospect Heights, portions of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Vinegar Hill), New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), local community members and BFC Partners gathered at the historic Bedford Union Armory in Crown Heights today to celebrate the groundbreaking of the site’s redevelopment.
The milestone is a significant moment in the history of the Bedford Union Armory, which community leaders long envisioned becoming a vibrant gathering space for the Crown Heights community.
“Growing up in East Flatbush in the backyard of Crown Heights, some of my fondest memories were made skating through the Empire Roller Rink and hanging out in Bedford Bowl, among other community spaces in the neighborhood,” said Cumbo. “There were a variety of recreational outlets for my friends and I to enjoy that helped shape our young adulthood. Today we celebrate the groundbreaking of the Bedford Union Armory, a true symbol of the culture and legacy of this historic neighborhood. We fought unwaveringly to ensure that this community space would reflect the beauty and history of Crown Heights, and I am proud to enter this first step toward bringing our vision to fruition. Our youth will have access to a newly renovated space with an array of after-school programming and year-round activities; a facility in which they too, can create their own cherished memories looking back on them in many years to come. Let us join together in our collective glory and partake in this special piece of Brooklyn.”
The Armory will accommodate several enrichment activities and educational programs including computer and coding classes, dance and performance studios, and literacy courses. The space will also include a recreation center that will house three basketball courts; a multi-use field that will be used for soccer, volleyball, and martial arts; a full length swimming pool; a fitness center; and areas designated for boxing and archery.
The project will offer affordable space for non-profits and other civic organizations that will permanently call the Armory home. Ten organizations, including New Heights Youth, Imagine Swimming, Globall Sports Concepts, Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy, Digital Girl, Inc., Brooklyn Community Pride Center, West Indian American Day Carnival Association, James E. Davis Foundation, Carey Gabay Foundation, and Brooklyn Medical Plaza Center will have space for offices and programming in the Armory.
The Armory’s spaces will be utilized by local schools and Yeshivas, with access to its enrichment programs and athletic facilities. Operators in the Armory will also offer literacy, STEAM, and computer classes for local residents of all ages, as well as providing spaces for meetings and exhibitions for a number of organizations.
“I am so pleased to see the transformation of the Bedford Union Armory move forward. Residents of Crown Heights deserve to have an affordable and accessible space for recreation and a host of other academic and cultural programming in this historic building,” said U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Kensington, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Midwood, Sheepshead Bay, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Prospect Lefferts Gardens).
As part of the project, the Armory will deliver 415 units of housing, nearly two-thirds of which (250 units) will be affordable to low-income individuals and their families earning at or below 60 percent of the area median income (AMI), with some reserved for formerly homeless New Yorkers and others reserved for households earning as low as $20,000 for an individual and $28,000 for a family of four.
“I am proud to have taken part in today’s conversion of The Bedford Union Armory, once a fortified structure for our military to a multi-purpose facility that will benefit local residents of Crown Heights and beyond,” said Assemblyman Walter Mosley (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Bed-Stuy). “The Armory will include a state-of-the-art recreation center, new space for community events, affordable office space for non-profit organizations, and 250 new affordable homes for low-income families – including formerly homeless New Yorkers. As someone who was born and raised in Crown Heights, I look forward to seeing the new Bedford Union Armory facility becoming a cornerstone of our community for many years to come.”
The residential component of the project will be developed on adjacent land and will be built from the ground up, while the recreational/non-profit component will repurpose the existing property. The Armory will feature a café open and available to the public that will offer food and beverages in between performing arts events, athletic competition, and continuing education programming.
The Armory is expected to open by the end of 2020 with the residential components to open in 2021 and 2022. Click here for more information about the Bedford Union Armory.