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6 Stories to Watch in Crown Heights in 2017

 Here are the six stories to pay attention to in Crown Heights in the new year.
Here are the six stories to pay attention to in Crown Heights in the new year.
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Composite: DNAinfo/Rachel Holliday Smith; Flickr/Omar Rawlings

CROWN HEIGHTS — It’s been a busy year in Crown Heights.

Raccoon sightings, Pokemon Go mishaps and that new steampunk bar on Nostrand Avenue have kept things interesting.

But in between the lighthearted stories, there have been more serious ones: the viral video of an arrest of an on-duty postal worker, the two young people shot and killed at J’Ouvert and, more recently, the painting — then crossing out — of a swastika on a Crown Heights sidewalk, four days after the November election.

As 2017 begins, here are the stories and events that will likely keep making headlines in Crown Heights in the new year:

► A Big Rezoning May Bring Two Huge Towers to Southern Crown Heights

A possible (and deeply controversial) neighborhood-wide rezoning in Crown Heights is effectively on hold ever since the community board asked the city to study it in 2015. But now, a developer is asking the city to approve a zoning change on two sites that would allow two, 16-story residential towers off Franklin Avenue. If it gets the green light, the projects would be the first allowed under the mayor’s citywide zoning changes made earlier this year.

► Get Ready for a Whole Bunch of New Residential Buildings — and Their Residents

There has been development happening all over Crown Heights for years. But in 2017, a handful of particularly large complexes will be coming online or finishing up construction — and with that come hundreds of new residents. On Rogers Avenue and Carroll Street, construction has wrapped at a 165-unit rental building, according to New York YIMBY. A few blocks away, on Bedford Avenue and Lincoln Place, a 114-unit building has topped out, the real estate site reported in November. And to the west of Franklin Avenue, two buildings are well on their way to bringing hundreds of units to the neighborhood: 608 Franklin Ave., a large glass structure going up at the corner of Dean Street, and 564 St. Johns Pl., an eight-story building that topped out last year according to Real Estate Weekly.

► Amid Protests, the Armory is Going to Need City Approval

The past year was marked by not-great news for the Bedford-Union Armory redevelopment. Over the summer, protests at the former military facility led to one of its developers dropping out of the project, followed quickly by Carmelo Anthony dropping support of its recreation center. As the project heads towards a public review process (expected sometime this spring, sources say), activists have called on elected officials to “kill the deal.”

► CitiBike Will Roll Through Crown Heights Soon

The city’s bike sharing program is set to come to the neighborhood soon, the Department of Transportation has announced — but extending only to Rogers Avenue, the agency revealed at planning meetings held in the fall. At those forums, residents helped give the DOT figure out where the bike’s docking stations should go; the agency will use the feedback to create a draft map of where the stations will be placed in the coming months.

► Will the Black Lady Theater Make a Comeback?

Work is ongoing at the Black Lady Theater on Nostrand Avenue, a formerly shuttered space once covered in eye-catching murals owned by the embattled family who fought to retain the famous Slave Theater on Fulton Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The construction site at the space (used in the 1980s by artists, activists and playwrights, the owners say) opened to the public as part of the annual Open House New York event this past fall, but a full opening date — or what, precisely, will happen at the space — is still up in the air.

► The Neighborhood May Become Home to the City's First Dog-Friendly Restaurant

It’s still very much a paw-in-the-sky idea, but for dog owners, a tantalizing one: Bring Your Own Down, or BYOD, a full-service, dog-friendly restaurant currently in the works from two women who are raising $35,000 dollars to bring the eatery to Prospect Heights or Crown Heights, they say. Though the borough already has a cat cafe, BYOD would be the first dog restaurant in Brooklyn.