Crown Heights community activists are calling for Knicks star Carmelo Anthony to withdraw his involvement in the controversial redevelopment of the Bedford-Union Armory.
In a recent letter penned by activist Bertha Lewis on behalf of the Black Institute and New York Communities for Change, she told Anthony that the development was not good for Crown Heights or for Brooklyn and that his name "should not be associated with such a terrible deal for New Yorkers," reports the Daily News.
The city tapped Slate Property Group and BFC Partners to redevelop the building into a 500,000 square foot mixed-use facility. The conversion is set to add 300 apartment unit, of which half will be deemed affordable but opposers of the project argue that it will not be affordable to the residents who already live in the neighborhood and will exacerbate gentrification in Crown Heights. Additionally, many are in opposition to the city’s decision to allow Slate to develop the site, following the Lower East Side’s scandal-plagued Rivington House deal.
Carmelo Anthony was backing a sports center that would be built as part of the redevelopment that includes basketball courts and a swimming pool, but despite his humble efforts, community groups want him having no parts of the project. "While you may have added your name in hopes that this will be a great asset for the local community, it will not. This public land has the potential of creating much-needed affordable housing for local residents who are rent burdened…Yet this development includes little-to-no affordable apartments for the local residents…"
Anthony is currently competing at the Olympics in Brazil but will surely have some drama awaiting him when he returns.