CROWN HEIGHTS — Local politicians are pushing the city to make all the new housing planned at the Bedford-Union Armory affordable to Crown Heights residents, according to an open letter regarding the troubled armory.
The redevelopment of the former military building on Bedford Avenue and Union Street already calls for half of 330 rental apartments to be set aside for low- and middle-income households. But four Crown Heights representatives say that isn’t good enough, demanding the city make 100 percent of the housing on the site affordable to locals.
“We only have one chance to get this project right,” read the letter, signed by Assembly members Walter Mosley and Diana Richardson, state Sen. Jesse Hamilton and Rep. Yvette Clarke.
The group said the proposed plan for the armory’s development — which includes a recreation center and 24 private condominiums, in addition to the 330 rentals — “does not go far enough in meeting community needs.”
“We must use every single public resource to provide affordable housing at all income levels,” they wrote.
That means subsidizing all housing on the site, setting aside 80 percent of it for residents of Brooklyn Community Board 9 and determining income requirements for affordable housing using salary data from the adjacent community, not “area median income,” a federal guideline typically used for public housing that takes into account richer suburbs of New York.
Those demands were among seven priorities outlined in the letter, sent to the Economic Development Corporation on Oct. 6 and first reported by Kings County Politics.
The EDC received the letter and are reviewing it, the agency said. Currently, the project is slated to begin the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure — a public approval process in which the community board, City Council and mayor must approve or decline the plan — in early 2017.
The letter is the latest in a series of challenges to the redevelopment plan in recent months. In August, developers from Slate Property Group ditched the project following protests from local housing advocates. A short time later, Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, tapped to support the recreation center through his foundation, dropped support for the project.
BFC Partners, originally slated to co-develop the property with Slate, is moving forward with the project as planned, the EDC said.
A spokesperson for BFC said the project will provide Crown Heights with “much-needed affordable housing,” office space and free or low-cost recreational facilities.
“We will build the housing component of this project without any city funds, which frees up the city’s resources to create even more affordable housing for low-income and homeless families in Crown Heights and across the city. This project also meets an urgent community need for safe, high-quality facilities for youth athletics, arts, culture and after-school programming,” the group said in a statement.
To discuss the future of the armory, residents are invited to attend two public meetings scheduled in the neighborhood this week: on Thursday, Hamilton will host an armory meeting at 6 p.m. at his office at 1669 Bedford Ave. and on Saturday, Richardson will host a meeting at 12 p.m. at M.S. 61 at 400 Empire Blvd.