Vacant, Century-Old Armory on Bedford Avenue to be Redeveloped into Commercial and Residential Facility
BROOKLYN, NY—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 Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, and community leaders, today announced 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, Brooklyn. 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.
“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. “At NYCEDC, we strive every day to create strong and equitable communities that provide economic opportunity for New Yorkers, and thanks to the collaborative efforts of the City, our elected officials, local stakeholders and engaged residents, we are responding to the needs and priorities of this vibrant community. Congratulations to everyone that has made this project possible, and I look forward to seeing the Bedford Courts team turn this underutilized building into a dynamic neighborhood cornerstone with recreational space, commercial space and badly needed affordable housing.”
“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 Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. 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.”
“After listening to the concerns of the community, I feel that we will be getting all that we asked for,” said Council Member Laurie A. 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 non-profit with a proven track record of providing holistic programs to a wide range of New Yorkers, will be operating the recreational facility and auditorium. I want to thank the entire NYCEDC team for working with the community and elected officials on this dynamic endeavor.”
“Today I would like to thank the New York City Economic Development Corporation and all the community stakeholders who, over the past year and a half, have made their voices heard in what the neighborhood wants to see happen with the Bedford Union Armory and its subsequent re-development,” said New York State Assembly Member Walter T. Mosley. “This is a truly smart, community led re-development project that has been a long time in the making. In the spirit of former Congressman Major Owens, who often discussed the need for compassion in public discourse, I will continue to advocate for a compassionate, community led process that will take into account all opinions and desires. We know that today is only the first step of many to see this project to completion and I stand ready to continue to work with the Crown Heights community and NYCEDC to ensure that the Bedford Union Armory is a benefit to the entire neighborhood.”
“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 Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke. “I commend the New York City Economic Development Corporation and its esteemed President Torres-Springer, Bedford Courts LLC, Borough President Adams, Council Member Cumbo, Carmelo Anthony and the Carmelo Anthony Foundation, CAMBA, and the many community leaders and residents of Crown Heights who worked to develop this proposal. I am committed to working with the developers and agencies that are involved in this project to support the hiring of construction workers from our community and the awarding of contracts to minority and women-owned business enterprises.”
“Our vision to enliven and reactivate the Bedford Union Armory for the Crown Heights neighborhood is now a reality,” said Don Capoccia, a partner with Joseph Ferrara and Brandon Baron at BFC Partners. “This exciting project promotes the resurgence of development in the area with much-needed affordable housing, commercial space and community recreational facilities. By providing new amenities and services for the community, all of its residents, businesses, cultural and community organizations will benefit for generations to come.”
“Since its conception, Slate Property Group has placed a strong and influential focus on Brooklyn development. To that end, we have always had a particular interest in giving back to the community through innovative projects that offer more space and affordable housing,” said David Schwartz, Co-Founder & Principal of Slate Property Group. “We have envisioned a concept like the Bedford Union Armory for years as we continue to focus on ways to use our resources to give back. We’re looking forward to working on this specific project because we have an opportunity to create affordable housing while also preserving a space that’s ingrained in and important to the community.”
“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 Carmelo 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, a non-profit agency that provides services that connect people with opportunities to enhance their quality of life. “These spectacular new facilities will enable CAMBA to create new recreational and educational programs to benefit the whole community.”
“Transforming underused public sites into dynamic mixed-use developments that include commercial space, jobs, and recreational facilities, as well as critically-needed affordable housing, are key to achieving thriving, diverse neighborhoods. I look forward to seeing this long awaited project come to life and become a renewed hub of this community,” said New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been. “I would like to congratulate NYCEDC, BFC Partners, Slate Property Group, CAMBA, and all of our partners on planning a project that meets the various needs of the community.”
“The redevelopment of the vacant Bedford Union Armory exemplifies the type of mixed-income, mixed-use projects envisioned by Housing New York,” said New York City Housing Development Corporation President Gary Rodney. “Through HDC’s mixed-income programs, this project will bring affordable homes to the community, along with the commercial, office, and recreational spaces that foster the diversity that is so essential to thriving neighborhoods. We are grateful to our elected officials, our sister city agencies, and all our partners for the vision and leadership they have brought to this project, and look forward to working with them to see it brought to life.”
“I'm excited about the proposed Bedford Armory Project for Crown Heights,” said Community Board 9 Chairman Demetrius Lawrence. “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. This is a great milestone for the Crown Heights community and I am hopeful that the Developers & NYCEDC will keep the community leaders and residents engaged in the duration of the project.”
Bedford Courts will develop the Bedford Union Armory on a long-term ground lease from the City into a residential building featuring over 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 Carmelo Anthony has taken an active interest in bringing recreational and athletic opportunities to the community.
CAMBA, a Brooklyn-based non-profit organization, 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.
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.
As part of the City’s efforts to expand economic and workforce opportunities, NYCEDC offers a comprehensive workforce and procurement program that supports communities and helps create job opportunities, especially those that enable low-income New Yorkers to participate in the City’s economic growth. At the Bedford Union Armory, Bedford Courts is expected to utilize NYCEDC’s HireNYC program for disadvantaged workers, as well as commit to contracting goals for minority and women-owned business enterprises.
New York City Economic Development Corporation creates shared prosperity across New York City’s five boroughs by strengthening neighborhoods and creating good jobs. NYCEDC works with and for communities to provide them with the resources they need to thrive, and we invest in projects that increase sustainability, support job growth, develop talent, and spark innovation to strengthen the City’s competitive advantage. To learn more about our work and initiatives, please visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.