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Bedford-Union Armory Plan Rejected by Borough President

 A rendering of the Bedford-Union Armory redevelopment shows the building with added apartments and condominiums. The project would also create a 35,000-square-foot recreation center inside the building's domed former drill hall.
A rendering of the Bedford-Union Armory redevelopment shows the building with added apartments and condominiums. The project would also create a 35,000-square-foot recreation center inside the building's domed former drill hall.
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Bedford Courts LLC

CROWN HEIGHTS — Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said he won’t support a controversial redevelopment of the Bedford-Union Armory in Crown Heights unless the plan changes significantly.

Adams officially gave the thumbs down to the proposal by developer BFC Partners to turn the former military facility on Bedford Avenue and Union Street into a recreation center, condominiums and rental apartments.

In a recommendation released Friday, Adams said he took issue in particular with the 58 condominiums set to be built on a portion of the building the city would sell to BFC. The rest of the city-owned site would be leased to the developer for 99 years.

Adams said he couldn’t get behind a project that did not include full city ownership over the property. He also recommended that the building have more permanent affordable housing — beyond the 166 units of affordable apartments included in the current plan — and suggested some units be set aside for formerly homeless families.

“We must ultimately come together and find the right balance that is the ideal solution for the future of Crown Heights,” he said in a statement.

The borough president’s recommendation is part of a monthslong official approval process known as ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) taking place before the redevelopment can begin. The Crown Heights community board has already weighed in as part of ULURP, voting overwhelmingly to reject the project plan at a meeting in June.

The opinion of the board and Adams is only advisory, as is the decision by the City Planning Commission (CPC), which will consider the project next in the ULURP process. The CPC will review Adams’s recommendation at a public meeting on Sept. 19, his office said.

As part of ULURP, only the City Council and mayor have the power to vote down or approve the armory plan. Following months of protests against the project by activists and residents, Crown Heights Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo publicly stated in May that she will not support the armory project in its current form. The mayor said recently he was holding out hope that elected officials in the area will “keep an open mind” about the redevelopment.

In response to Adams rejecting the plan, BFC Partners spokesman Sam Spokony said the group is still committed to "providing a new affordable recreation center, affordable office space for non-profits and affordable housing for the Crown Heights community."

"As the Bedford-Union Armory continues to sit vacant, this is an opportunity to make it a place that truly serves local families," he said in a statement.