Crown Heights

BP Adams celebrates community-driven process to activate Bedford Union Armory

December 17, 2015 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
BP Eric Adams joined NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer (left, center); Councilmember Laurie A. Cumbo (right, center); and Bedford Courts LLC, a joint venture of Brooklyn-based developers BFC Partners and Slate Property Group, in partnership with local elected officials and community leaders, to announce an approximately 500,000-square-foot mixed-use development at the Bedford Union Armory in Crown Heights. Photo Credit: Erica Sherman/Brooklyn BP’s Office
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Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams on Thursday joined the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and Bedford Courts LLC, a joint venture of Brooklyn-based developers BFC Partners and Slate Property Group, in partnership with local elected officials and community leaders, to announce an approximately 500,000-square-foot mixed-use development at the Bedford Union Armory, bringing hundreds of units of housing, a multi-sport recreational facility, community event space, office space and commercial space to Crown Heights.

Devised in close coordination with the community and local elected officials, the Bedford Union Armory project will activate the vacant building, built in 1903 in one of the most diverse neighborhoods in New York City, and achieve a double bottom line by providing access to facilities, space for lease and programming at significant discounts.

“Activating the Bedford Union Armory has been a labor of love, a truly community-driven process where the residents of Crown Heights have ensured their voices were heard,” said Adams. “Thanks to the thoughtful input of engaged Brooklynites, we can proceed with a plan that adds tremendous value to a growing neighborhood. In addition to generating scores of critically needed affordable housing units in the heart of Central Brooklyn, the Bedford Union Armory will serve as an economic engine of opportunity as well as a beacon for the advancement of healthy living. I applaud the partnership between local stakeholders and NYCEDC that has fostered a quality vision that enhances the future of Crown Heights and Brooklyn as a whole.” 

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“The Bedford Union Armory has been a centerpiece of the Crown Heights community for more than a century, and by reactivating it we are building upon its potential to benefit the entire neighborhood,” said NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer. 

Bedford Courts will develop the Bedford Union Armory on a long-term ground lease from the city into a residential building featuring more than 300 units of housing, half of which will be affordable, and a commercial building containing a recreational facility, a community event space and office space.

Carmelo Anthony and The Carmelo Anthony Foundation will assist with the fit-out of the recreational facility, which could include basketball courts, a swimming pool and an indoor turf field. Having lived the first eight years of his life in the Red Hook Houses in Brooklyn, New York Knicks forward Anthony has taken an active interest in bringing recreational and athletic opportunities to the community. CAMBA, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit organization that provides services to connect people with opportunities to enhance their quality of life, will operate and provide associated programming for the recreational facility and community event space. Bedford Union Armory occupies nearly an entire city block, a short walk away from the Franklin Avenue subway station and major cultural institutions.

“This is an exciting opportunity for me and I look forward to working with the NYCEDC, Slate Property Group and BFC Partners on the Bedford Union Armory restoration and development,” said Anthony, founder of The Carmelo Anthony Foundation.  “This project hits close to home for me. We have a deep history in Brooklyn and I’m thankful to be able to give back by helping to offer more affordable housing and a community center in this neighborhood.” 

“This community center will be a tremendous asset for Crown Heights and the neighboring communities,” said Joanne M. Oplustil, president and CEO of CAMBA. “These spectacular new facilities will enable CAMBA to create new recreational and educational programs to benefit the whole community.”

The Bedford Union Armory project was developed in response to feedback from local elected officials and the community after a comprehensive outreach campaign to solicit public input on the redevelopment. NYCEDC and local elected officials co-hosted group discussions with local community leaders from 23 organizations and conducted two public meetings in October 2014 with nearly 250 community members in attendance. Following these meetings, NYCEDC negotiated with RFP respondents so that projects more closely reflected community input.

“The restoration of the Bedford Union Armory will provide the community of Crown Heights with invaluable resources, such as affordable housing, which our community desperately needs, and facilities for recreation, an auditorium for entertainment and ceremonies and office space for nonprofit organizations that work on behalf of the people of Brooklyn,” said U.S. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke. 

“After listening to the concerns of the community, I feel that we will be getting all that we asked for,” said Cumbo. “With well over a hundred units of affordable housing, a multi-sport recreational facility and community space, the residents of Crown Heights will undoubtedly benefit for years to come. I am pleased that CAMBA, a Brooklyn nonprofit with a proven track record of providing holistic programs to a wide range of New Yorkers, will be operating the recreational facility and auditorium.”

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