• Armory to be Transformed

    Private townhouses, affordable and market-rate apartments and a new recreation center are coming to the Bedford-Union Armory in Crown Heights, according to multiple people familiar with a plan by the city’s Economic Development Corporation • Full Story Smith

    Private townhouses, affordable and market-rate apartments and a new recreation center are coming to the Bedford-Union Armory in Crown Heights, according to multiple people familiar with a plan by the city’s Economic Development Corporation.

    Part of the 138,000-square-foot former military facility — built in 1903 and acquired by the city in 2013 — will be sold to a private developer to be converted into 12 private townhouses built inside former horse stables located on President Street along the building’s south side, the sources said.

    Space on the armory’s east side currently used as a parking garage will be replaced by a new building to include market-rate and affordable rental units, those with knowledge of the plan said; 50 percent of the planned units will be market-rate, 30 percent will be set aside for middle-income residents and 20 percent for low-income residents.

    The size of the proposed apartment building is unclear. Land use rules allow for up to 13 stories.

    In addition to the housing components, the armory’s main building — with its distinctive domed drill hall on top — will house a new recreational facility, including a swimming pool, three basketball courts and an indoor soccer field, sources said. The center, which will be open to the community, will be operated by CAMBA, a Flatbush-based social service provider and non-profit.

    The yet-unnamed developer will operate under a 99-year lease on the majority of the property, sources said. However, the President Street portion set aside for the new townhouses will be sold outright to the developer by the city, the sources said.

    The EDC shared details of the plan with community stakeholders in multiple meetings held in the borough last week. The agency plans to formally announce details of the redevelopment project later this week, sources said.

    An EDC spokesman declined to comment on the project on Monday.

    The project is the result of a public request for proposals to redevelop or repurpose the building released by the EDC in late 2013. Last fall, the agency held multiple public forums to collect community input from Crown Heights residents about what they wanted to see built in the armory.

    Popular ideas included mixed-income housing, a fitness center and space for job training, the EDC said at the time.

    Since the military vacated the armory in 2011, the building has been used primarily for large-scale events such as local conventions, fundraisers and weddings.

    The armory redevelopment plan will need to be reviewed and approved through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) by the local community board, the borough president, City Council and the mayor.



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