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Bedford-Union Armory redevelopment draws more community backlash

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At a public hearing, community members urged the city to “kill the deal”

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

The battle over the fate of a proposal to redevelop the Bedford-Union Armory in Crown Heights into a mixed-use project continues to spark community outrage. Local residents made a recent push for developers BFC Partners to make all of the project’s apartments fully affordable but tensions were running so high that City Hall had to reschedule January’s public hearing. Well, the new meeting was held and according to Gothamist, Crown Heights residents are now calling for the city to “kill the deal.”

Residents weren’t exactly advocating against redevelopment of any sort for the 138,000-square-foot armory but rather against those that wouldn’t present any viable opportunities to the current dwellers. Instead of turning the city-owned land into a profitable development, residents believe that the site should be converted into a community land trust.

“The option is not just finding another developer. We need to make sure that this property, this public resource stays a resource for the community,” real estate attorney Slyvia Kinard told Gothamist.

To backtrack, the city’s Economic Development Corporation selected a proposal that would turn the armory into a 542,393-square-foot mixed-use project with 330 rentals, 60 condos, and a recreation area including a swimming pool, three basketball courts, and an indoor soccer field. Since then, it has drawn criticism since private housing would be built on public property. BFC Partners sought to appease the community with promises of setting 50 percent of the units aside as affordable, however, residents countered that “affordable”would not be such for the current residents.

Those in favor of the project argue that it would provide a space for children to play along with much-needed housing but locals weren’t buying it. “If you think privatization is going to make a difference in a community that’s suffering for decades, that’s ridiculous,” declared one resident.