They’re embracing it with open arm-ories!
Developers will gut Crown Heights’ historic Bedford Union Armory and fill it with housing, a community center, and sports facilities, city honchos announced on Thursday — welcome news to residents, who say the plan is in sync with what they told officials they want to see there.
“I’m pleased to see that the developers have taken into consideration what the community would like to see at the Bedford Union Armory location,” said Demetrius Lawrence, the chairman of the local community board.
The city tapped developers BFC Partners and Slate Property Group for the long-awaited redevelopment of the vacant, century-old weapons storage facility at Bedford Avenue and Union Street, following two years of negotiations with local residents and prospective rebuilders on how to make-over the massive property.
The real-estate firms’ proposal for the site includes 24 condominiums and 330 apartments — 166 of which will be below-market-rate. One hundred of those will be set aside for households earning around $85,500 a year — based on a family of three — 48 will go to families earning roughly $36,500, and 18 will be for folks earning around $28,800.
The new building will also include offices, a community event space, and a recreational center — which may include basketball courts, a swimming pool, and an indoor turf field and will be partially designed by Knicks star and Red Hook native Carmelo Anthony.
The developers — who will take on a 99-year lease — plan to keep the cavernous structure’s iconic castle-like brick walls and curved roof, but will also stick a more modern-looking addition on top near President and Roger streets.
The city met with locals many times over the two-year search, and made its decision partially on how closely proposals resembled the community’s wishes for the space, according to a city rep.
For example, neighbors said they did not want any segregation between so-called “affordable” and market-rate housing — and as a result, all the units will be mixed in together.
Local leaders say they are thrilled to see the community’s feedback finally put into action after the lengthy negotiation period, and hope the city and the developers keep listening through a public review process and during construction.
“The hope is that the developer has an open and compassionate ear,” said Assemblyman Walter Mosley (D–Crown Heights).
The munitions depot has been empty since 2011, when troops stationed there were moved to Fort Hamilton, and then-Borough President Marty Markowitz began pushing to revitalize the property — inspired by the $16-million redevelopment of the Park Slope armory.
The state finally handed the building over to the city in late 2013, and officials have been quietly hammering out details ever since.
In early November, some 5,000 hasidic rabbis from around the world used the vacant armory for a conference. Later that month, a music festival tried to hold a rave there, but eventually moved the party after local residents and pols complained it would be too loud and dangerous.