De Blasio calls off Bedford Union Armory meeting

Opposition mounts to BFC Partners’ Crown Heights proposal

TRD New York /
Jan.January 30, 2017 09:09 AM

From left: Bedford Union Armory, Bill de Blasio and Donald Capoccia

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration canceled a public hearing last week on the proposed redevelopment of the Bedford Union Armory in Crown Heights as opposition grows from politicians, residents and activists who clamor more affordable housing at the site.

A representative for the New York City Economic Development Corp. said the hearing will probably be rescheduled for early March, but a date has not yet been decided upon, Politico reported.

Developer BFC Partners TRData LogoTINY gained approval in 2015 to redevelop the facility into a 542,393-square-foot, mixed-use property with 165 below-market rental apartments and 48 condos on the city-owned site.

The project will have to go through the land-use review process and will hinge on the support of local Council Member Laurie Cumbo, who said she remains undecided.

Cumbo told Politico that the current amount of affordable housing is “unacceptable” and she would like more information on union requirements as well as jobs for local residents and minority and women-owned businesses.

A few days before de Blasio scratched the meeting, four lawmakers filed a public records request seeking a detailed breakdown of the proposal’s finances.

None of the lawmakers has a role in the city’s land-use process, but are trying to put pressure on Cumbo, Politico reported.

BFC’s Don Capoccia said he understands the concerns over affordability, and acknowledged the economic realities of the project, such as finding a way to cross-subsidize a planned 67,752-square-foot community and event space, which will be managed byBrooklyn-based nonprofitCAMBA.

“If it isn’t done, it kind of remains a vacant, empty block in what is an otherwise vibrant neighborhood,” he told Politico. “We keep pouring money into this. I don’t do that because I think we’re going to fail, believe me.”

BFC originally partnered with Slate Property Group to develop the site, but Slate agreed to sell its stake last year amid pressure over its involvement in the Rivington House scandal. [Politico] — Rich Bockmann

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