Crown Heights

Activists not mellow over ’Melo’s link to Armory project

Opponents say Crown Heights development is ‘not good for Brooklyn’

August 10, 2016 By James Harney Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Activists are urging Carmelo Anthony to withdraw his support from the planned redevelopment of the Bedford Union Armory. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

For New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, it may be game time at the Rio Olympics, but it’s shame time in Brooklyn.

According to the New York Daily News, some Crown Heights activist groups are calling a foul on Anthony for backing the development of a sports facility that is part of the controversial redevelopment of the Bedford-Union Armory.

The Carmelo Anthony Foundation is helping to fund a sports center including basketball courts and a swimming pool, which — along with commercial space and 300 units of market-rate and affordable housing — is slated to be part of a redevelopment of the long-vacant armory.

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But the local groups — the Black Institute and New York Communities for Change — are critical of the city’s choice of Slate Property Group to develop the housing at the armory.

The Slate Group is the developer that purchased the Rivington House nursing home on the Lower East Side and plans to convert it into luxury condominiums in a deal that has tarnished the de Blasio administration in scandal.

City officials said they were not aware of Slate’s involvement in the Rivington House deal when the firm was selected to participate in the armory redevelopment, according to the Daily News report.

In a letter to Anthony and his foundation, activist Bertha Lewis wrote that the armory project “is not good for Crown Heights, and it’s not good for Brooklyn. Your name should not be associated with such a terrible deal for New Yorkers.”

Plans call for half of the units slated to be built at the armory site to be designated as affordable housing, but the community organizations — including the Crown Heights Tenant Union and Crown Heights South Association — contend that they will still be too pricey for area housing customers. Most, they say, would only be “affordable” for a family of four that makes $99,600 annually.


“While you may have added your name in hopes that this will be a great asset for the local community, it will not,” Lewis’ letter to Anthony continued. “This public land has the potential of creating much-needed affordable housing … Yet this development includes little-to-no affordable apartments for the local residents.”

Neither Anthony nor representatives for the Slate Group could be immediately reached for comment.


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