City Hall, NY-
The New York City Council Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions, and Concessions today voted on a significantly modified application to create new affordable housing on the site of the Bedford-Union Armory in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The vastly modified agreement, secured by Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, emphasizes community investments, local jobs, and deep levels of affordability for neighborhood residents, all without the development of market-rate, luxury condominiums, as laid out in the original proposal.
"Today, I am proud to announce my support for a dramatically revised Bedford Union Armory project, which will provide the greatest level of low-income and affordable housing that the Crown Heights community has seen in decade," said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo. "I fought to remove 48 luxury condominiums, deepened the bands of affordability by securing approximately 250 housing units for low-income and formerly homeless families - quadrupling the affordable housing that was proposed in the original plan, with at least $1.25 million annually in programmatic engagement at the Armory. Additionally, I am proud that a dozen not-for-profit organizations and athletic providers will have a new home at the Armory alongside anchored tenant, Brooklyn Medical Plaza, who will provide quality affordable healthcare for the uninsured. I thank the developer, my colleagues in government, the Administration for their willingness to renegotiate this proposal to best serve Crown Heights and ensure this development is fully aligned with the needs of our community."
"The reactivation of the Bedford Union Armory has been a long community-driven process with vigorous debate on all sides," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. "Through it all, Council Member Cumbo has shown steadfast leadership in fighting to secure the best possible outcome for Crown Heights, particularly those residents who have historically been disenfranchised by government. Our community fought for, and achieved, a project without any condominiums, meaning that this property will remain entirely in public ownership. Our community fought for, and achieved, deeper affordability that will include set asides for our formerly homeless neighbors, as well as lasting accessibility to a new neighborhood recreation center with significant space for local non-profits. Our community will continue to stand together and fight together for advancing Crown Heights forward as a safe place where everyone can raise healthy children and families."
"We are proud to help transform the Bedford-Union Armory from a vacant building into a vibrant community space that will provide a state-of-the-art recreation center, affordable offices and deeply affordable housing for Crown Heights. We are especially committed to ensuring that Crown Heights residents will enjoy ongoing, affordable access to the recreation center and its diverse athletic, fitness and after school programming," said Don Capoccia, principal of BFC Partners. "The significant revisions to this plan were informed by our comprehensive community engagement effort, including discussions with Council Member Cumbo and other local stakeholders. Council Member Cumbo has secured a huge win for this community and her stalwart advocacy has been a driving force throughout this process."
The amended agreement, passed by the Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions in a (16-1-1) and set to be voted on by the full City Council next week, includes substantial re-investment in Crown Heights.
"I commend Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo on her determined efforts in negotiating this deal with the city and the developer. Even though the task became incredibly difficult at times, she worked tirelessly to ensure this project would meet the needs and desires of her constituents. I would like to applaud the de Blasio administration and the Economic Development Corporation for working together to ensure this proposal best reflects the needs of our communities. As the current proposal stands, there will be absolutely no condos. Additionally, there will be an increase of units below 60 AMI (Area Median Income) from 18% to 60%, and 98 units at 50 AMI or below, bringing the total number of permanent, low-income housing units to 250.
"I know that the Councilwoman will continue to work with her colleagues in an effort to ensure that we provide our communities with the recreation center we so desperately need for our young people. Likewise, the addition to the affordable housing unit our local neighborhoods so desperately need and deserve. Negotiations also produced the anticipated installation of a state of the art medical healthcare center, along with much need space for local non-profit community base organizations. I look forward to my ongoing assistance with the Councilwoman as we seek to address and add additional subsidies in our attempt to make this truly a sustainable project for current and like-minded Brooklynites to come," said Assemblyman Walter T. Mosley.
"For the advocates of affordable housing and the residents of Crown Heights, today's vote in the NY City Council for the dramatically modified Bedford Union development is a great victory. Thanks to Council Member Laurie Cumbo, the final Armory project will remain in ownership of the public and all units will be rental units. Renters are facing an affordability crisis and The Bedford-Union Armory will now be a site of affordable housing for the constituents the Council Member and I are proud to represent. I commend Council Member Cumbo for her staunch advocacy on behalf of the families of Crown Heights," said Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke.
As a result of Council Member Cumbo's advocacy, there will be no condo units included in the final Armory project and the property will remain entirely in public ownership. The more than 400 homes in the project will now be rental units.
In addition, Council Member Cumbo negotiated much deeper levels of affordability for a greater number of units.
The original proposal included just 67 homes that were affordable below 60% AMI - that's a family of four making $57,000 a year or less. The final Armory project now includes approximately 250 homes that will be affordable below 60% AMI.
The full affordability breakdown is as follows:
- 50 units at 30% AMI (inclusive of 25 units set aside for formerly homeless)
- 24 units at 40% AMI
- 24 units at 50% AMI
- 152 units at 60% AMI
Finally, 10% of the affordable housing will now be set aside for formerly homeless individuals and families. No housing for New Yorkers experiencing homelessness was proposed in the original project.
Affordable Recreation Center:
The Armory's historic Drill Shed will be converted into a center with three full-size basketball courts, multipurpose court space for activities like indoor soccer, a six-lane 25-meter indoor swimming pool, and fitness rooms.
Council Member Cumbo also negotiated several requirements to ensure that the state-of-the-art recreation center at the Armory will be truly affordable and accessible to Crown Heights families.
At least 50% of memberships will be reserved for community members at discounted rates of just $10 a month for adults and $8 for a child under 16.
The operator will be required to provide additional community benefits valued at no less than $1.25 million per year - more than double the amount previously required.
- 50% of all recreation center memberships will be reserved for discounted community rates
- discounted space rentals
- discounted classes
- discounted rents for non-profits
Affordable office space will be available to non-profits at just $6 per square foot, just 20% of market rate rents in the area which average $30 per square foot. Rent increases will also be capped at 3% annually.
Construction and permanent jobs will be advertised locally through the HireNYC program, and BFC and its sub-tenants will be encouraged to purchase goods and services from the local community. BFC will require the future manager of the facilities to curate and manage a list of suggested local vendors, which will be kept up to date and provided to all tenants operating within the Armory.
BFC has committed to a 25% M/WBE goal for construction, and has reached an agreement with 32BJ for building service jobs.
The Developer has committed to pursue an additional 20,000 sqf of community facility space for Brooklyn Medical Plaza to provide healthcare services in Crown Heights
Before construction begins, the developer has also pledged to put forth a Pest Control Plan and a Good Neighbor Plan to ensure that a point of contact is available for all community members to share any potential concerns regarding impacts from construction.
In addition, a community advisory committee will be created to help plan programming for the recreation center and ensure the needs of the local community are met throughout the life of the project.