CB9 votes unanimously against armory redevelopment
by Patrick Kearns
Jun 30, 2017 | 923 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The redevelopment of the Bedford Union Armory has hit another snag after Community Board 9 voted unanimously in opposition to the project at a meeting last week that was packed with protestors.

The joint venture between the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and BFC Partners, calls for the creation of a mix of 300 affordable and market-rate residential units, a 45,000-square-foot recreational facility and retail space.

“We cannot in good conscience support a project that will further exacerbate the ongoing challenges, particularly the lack of affordable housing and rapid gentrification that will uproot the longstanding residents who were steadfast and transformed this community into what it is today,” Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo said in a statement.

But Crown Heights resident Alicia Boyd believes that if Cumbo was truly against the deal, she would put a stop to the whole process.

“This land is ours,” Boyd said. “Public land does not belong to the mayor, it does not belong to Laurie Cumbo. It belongs to the people.”

Charmel Lucas with Picture the Homeless thinks adding luxury condominiums will only make the city’s homeless crisis worse.

“The community needs to take care of its own land,” she said. “The last thing we need is more luxury condominiums. We need true low-income housing.”

Skipp Roseboro of New York Communities for Change called for a community land trust, which would allow the public to maintain ownership while having a nonprofit act as developer and steward of the property.

“If you own it, can’t you decide what the rents are going to be so you can live there too?” he asked. “Isn’t that a much better deal than their offer?”

Despite the opposition, BFC and EDC are continuing with the city's Uniform Land Use Review Process, which still involves getting a recommendation from Borough President Eric Adams and the City Planning Commission before a final decisive vote by the City Council.

Cumbo believes her fellow council members will follow her lead and oppose the project.

EDC spokesman Ryan Birchmeier said they’ve heard a range of support and constructive feedback from the community throughout the process.

“We are committed to delivering a long-awaited community recreational center and badly needed affordable housing to the Crown Heights community, and will continue to work with stakeholders to look for ways to make this great project even better,” Birchmeier said.

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