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Scandal-tinged developer removes itself from Bedford Avenue Armory conversion

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Slate Property Group, which is one of the developers behind the Rivington House deal, is out

The fallout from the Rivington House scandal continues to ripple outward and affect other developments throughout New York City, the latest being the redevelopment of the Bedford-Union Armory in Crown Heights. The Daily News reports that Slate Property Group, one of the developers behind the conversion, sold its stake in the project to BFC Partners, the other developer working on the armory.

How does this relate to Rivington House? Slate purchased that property from Allure Group for the possibly way-too-low price of $116 million, in what is now seen as a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad deal. The Department of Investigation is looking into it; City Hall, and Mayor de Blasio’s administration, are implicated; and the scandal is still unfolding.

With all that in mind, the city was (understandably) nervous about having Slate involved in the Bedford-Union Armory project, particularly after community activists protested the developer’s involvement earlier this month.

David Schwartz, a principal at Slate, told the Daily News that, despite the firm’s belief that it did nothing wrong regarding Rivington House, it decided to step away from the armory project because "We didn’t want to give any more fuel to the fire." He continued, "It seemed to us that it was going to be a difficult ride, even though we didn’t agree with any of the protests, and there was no merit to it." And so it backed off.

Austin Finian, a spokesperson for Mayor de Blasio, told the News that, "We believe this is the right decision. It protects the vital affordable housing coming to this site, and serves the needs of this community." The armory redevelopment still has a few hurdles to clear before it can truly begin, including going through the ULURP process, but presumably there will be fewer protests now that one less controversial element is in place.