City Council votes to pass controversial Bedford-Union Armory project

Project still faces opposition, including lawsuit from Legal Aid

Bedford-Union Armory
Bedford-Union Armory

The New York City Council has given its seal of approval to the controversial Bedford-Union Armory plan in Crown Heights.

After years of often contentious debate, the council voted to approve the project—which will bring 400 apartments and a recreation center to Crown Heights—during its Thursday afternoon session by a vote of 43 to 2, with one abstention.

Local Council member Laurie Cumbo had originally opposed the project from developer BFC Partners but came out in favor of it after officials increased its affordable housing component and removed its market rate condos.

She said during the council session that the neighborhoods surrounding the armory are “communities in crisis” and that they cannot wait five more years for the project to arrive.

“This is progress,” she said. “This is getting something done in our term.”

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Under the current plan, the armory would feature 250 affordable apartments with monthly rents between $521 and $1,166. It would also include a recreation center, with half of the memberships going to local residents for $10 per month.

The plan still faces resistance from the Legal Aid Society, which filed a lawsuit against the city on Wednesday arguing that the project should not be allowed to move forward based on a flawed method it used for evaluating tenant displacement.

Brooklyn Council member Inez Barron voiced her disapproval of the plan during Thursday’s vote.

“Affordability is a dangling participle,” she said. “It needs to say affordable to whom.”

Kathryn Brenzel contributed reporting.