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Bedford-Union Armory redevelopment won’t benefit residents of color: study

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A report argues that white families will likely claim all of the controversial project’s affordable apartments

Ariel view of Bedford-Union Armory in Crown Heights BFC Partners

Plans to redevelop the Bedford-Union Armory in Crown Heights continue to spark outrage among local residents, and a new report released by New York Communities for Change is likely to add to their concerns. According to the group’s study, the armory redevelopment, which aims to build a mix of condos and rentals on public property, will “cater to new, wealthy, white renters and homeowners and accelerate displacement of low-income residents of color” (h/t New York Daily News).

The study analyzes Brooklyn’s census data to prove that white residents stand a greater chance at qualifying for the project’s “affordable” apartments given that they tend to have higher incomes than African American and Latino residents.

“As white-headed households make up more than half of the families who earn over $75,000 in Brooklyn, it is more likely that white households will win any lottery for affordable units in the Bedford Armory,” the study states.

Based on the Economic Development Corporation’s Draft Scope of Work for the project’s Environmental Impact Statement, 83 percent of the total proposed apartments would cost prospective tenants more than $2,200/month. Income and census demographics suggests that white residents are twice as likely to have the qualifying income than blacks and almost five times more likely than Latinos for many of the apartments.

Despite strong opposition to the project, there are some who support the project. The West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA), which puts on the annual festival in Brooklyn, is scheduled to rent 3,500 square feet of affordable office space within the development and believes that the project is indeed beneficial to the community.

“The new Armory will provide affordable resources needed to keep West Indian cultural activities thriving in our community for generations to come. A brighter future for the Carnival Parade directly benefits thousands of Crown Heights families of color who participate in the parade, our steelpan association and other Carnival Association activities,” WIACADA president William Howard said in a statement.

Bedford-Union Armory

1579 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 1225