A proposed 500,000-square-foot mixed-use development/renovation is slated for Crown Heights’ historic Bedford Union Armory, bringing with it 300 housing units (half of which will be considered affordable) and a commercial space that includes a recreational facility, a community event space and office space.
Built in 1903 for the Troop C Cavalry Unit, the giant space—that takes up nearly an entire city block—became a city-owned property (transferred over from the state) in 2013. Now, after a series of public meetings and responses elicited by a request for proposals, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) alongside Bedford Courts LLC (a joint venture of Brooklyn-based developers BFC Partners and Slate Property Group) has taken the first steps in the now-vacant building’s redevelopment.
“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.”
“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,” added Brooklyn Borough President Eric 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.”
Public input was a crucial part of the process to this point, according to NYCEDC. Local elected officials, alongside NYCEDC, co-hosted several group discussions with community leaders from 23 organizations and conducted two public meetings last year with nearly 250 community members in attendance.
“After listening to the concerns of the community, I feel that we will be getting all that we asked for,” said Councilmember Laurie 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.”
Bedford Courts will develop the Bedford Union Armory on a long-term ground lease from the city while 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, according to NYCEDC. Additionally, CAMBA, a Brooklyn-based non-profit organization, will operate and provide associated programming for the recreational facility and community event space.