As the state agency that owns the National Guard armory in Williamsburg readies the 3.2-acre site for sale, a sect of the Hasidic community that lives in the neighborhood has emerged as the most interested buyer, the New York Times reported.
The Satmar Hasidim, the area’s dominant sect, are eyeing the square-block site — currently occupied by a late-19th-century, 165,000-square-foot brick fortress — as a location for a large school, housing development and community hall.
The Empire State Development Corporation will soon be issuing a request for proposals for the armory, which has been unoccupied for the last two years and is now used mostly for film shoots. The ESDC intends to stipulate that the land be used to benefit “the needs and priorities of the local community,” according to an earlier statement from the agency cited by the Times.
“We’re looking forward to getting the RFP and trying to come up with the best price we can afford,” Rabbi Chaim Mandel, the business administrator for United Talmudical Academy, an Orthodox day school in the neighborhood, told the Times.
Satmar leaders have been discussing plans to buy the building with an Orthodox businessman, Abraham Eisner, according to articles in Orthodox news outlets seen by the Times. Any purchase would be a complicated one — the community is deeply divided in leadership and is embroiled in numerous property disputes, the Times said. [NYT] –Hiten Samtani