After hearing from “thousands of community voices” on the redevelopment of the Bedford-Union Armory in Crown Heights, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams released his recommendations for the embattled project. His input is a necessary step in the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), which developers BFC Partners are in the midst of as part of a larger rezoning for the project.
Unsurprisingly, Adams’s recommendations echo community concerns about the development, which is due to have two residential buildings—one mixed-income rentals, the other condos—along with public-facing spaces that include a community center, a pool, and multi-purposes courts for sports. BFC agreed to offer half of the rentals and 20 percent of the condos as affordable units, but Crown Heights residents have argued that the project should be fully affordable considering it’s being built on city land.
Adams agrees: His recommendations call for the city retaining ownership of the site, and for the condos to be dropped from the project; instead, he recommends “maximizing the delivery of affordable housing on-site through multiple income tiers.”
“It is important that we get this right,” Adams said in a statement.
His suggestion is to increase the number of apartments aimed at both extremely low-income and higher-earning New Yorkers, with the rents from the latter offsetting some operational costs. Any housing, he says, should be permanently affordable.
Adams also suggests earmarking 20 percent of the project’s affordable apartments for homeless New Yorkers through HPD’s “Our Space Initiative” program, in response to the city’s deepening homelessness crisis.
Despite having the backing of Mayor Bill de Blasio and some community stakeholders, the armory redevelopment has proved unpopular with many Crown Heights residents, who’ve protested it en masse at many a city meeting. City Council member Laurie Cumbo, who represents that district, and the neighborhood Community Board have both said they will not support the project in its current form (ditto Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, who was once tied to the project).
The City Planning Commission will hear these recommendations during a meeting next month.
“Local residents of Crown Heights and all Brooklynites deserve transparency,” Adams said. “It is important that we have as much information as possible before any final decision is made on these applications.”