Cumbo opposes Armory project in latest blow to redevelopment

City Councilwoman has said BFC’s project lacks sufficient affordable housing

TRD New York /
May.May 19, 2017 08:30 AM

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

City Council member Laurie Cumbo won’t support the controversial redevelopment of the Bedford-Union Armory in Crown Heights — dealing another blow to the project backed by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Cumbo, whose district includes the armory, planned to make her opposition to the redevelopment a central theme of her State of the District speech Thursday, Politico reported.

Cumbo has gone back and forth over whether to support the project in recent months. BFC Partners and CAMBA, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit, plan to transform the vacant 138,000-square-foot site into a mixed-use facility with affordable housing, market-rate condos and recreational facilities.

Despite support for the project’s affordable housing component from City Hall, the project’s faced opposition from lawmakers including Rep. Yvette Clarke, State Sen. Jesse Hamilton and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

Cumbo, who has expressed concerns that the project needs more affordable housing, has faced backlash over her relative indecision.

Protestors were planning to attend her speech Thursday and Ede Fox, who is challenging Cumbo, released a statement criticizing her lack of a clear position on the project until now. “Any last-minute new proposal from Laurie is too little, too late for those of us who have been tirelessly fighting to preserve the Bedford Union Armory for future generations of Brooklynites,” Fox said.

Sam Spokony, a spokesman for the project, said adding more affordable isn’t feasible because the plan requires the construction of a recreational center. “BFC is fully committed to revitalizing the Bedford-Union Armory and providing much-needed recreational facilities, affordable housing and affordable office space for the Crown Heights community,” he said. “The economic realities of cross-subsidizing a new rec center and the lack of housing subsidies mean that 50% affordability is the only option currently available at the Armory.” [Politico] — E.B. Solomont

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