August 2nd there will be a Community Town Hall about the Bedford Union Armory. Mayor Bill De Blasio has been invited and has acknowledged the event, where a coalition of community groups are looking forward to “do a better job of explaining what the benefits are to the community.”
“Fact-check: Can subsidies pay for community takeover of armory project?” misleads readers about how community land trusts work, and how housing finance works in order to shill for the real estate industry that is seeking to take over all of our public land at the Bedford-Union Armory.
The community land trust is a legitimate and viable option. Most models include housing experts, nonprofit developers, community residents and public officials working together to manage and steward the land. Community members have a say in the decision-making process and work alongside people with technical expertise to achieve shared goals.
KCP asked the candidates running for the 35th District City Council seat covering Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights and Crown Heights to provide their stance on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ongoing NextGen housing development program, which involves leasing NYCHA-owned properties to private developers.
The district has a particularly large stake in the issue. Their district is home to over 6,000 units worth of NYCHA housing, according to the latest data from the Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness (ICPH).
Asbestos Suspected at Bedford-Union Armory
Dr. Juan Blanco Ruiz, the architect and preservationist, read the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (i.e., Brownfield Report) prepared by Sam Schwartz Engineering and Integral Consulting in March 2016 to find the scope of the assessment subjects did not include asbestos, lead-based paint, radon, lead in drinking water, mold and ten other services. Given the armory was built in 1906 when these substances were commonly used or the conditions existed, Dr. Blanco Ruiz has few good words for the project.
“The Drill Hall’s roof is 1.2 acres in area. The cost of asbestos remediation would be monumental. It would cost as much as $50 million to replace the roof and it is not what they (BFC Partners) budgeted,” explains Dr. Ruiz. He discovered the presence of asbestos in the building “upon reading a professional journal published in 1906 which announced the completion of the armory”. In that article, they placed special pride in the use of new “fireproof mineral roofing cement”.
Candidate Jabari Brisport:
In Crown Heights, nearly 60% of households are rent-burdened. This has led to surging evictions and record homelessness. Only 18 of the 386 units of housing proposed at the armory would actually be affordable to community residents. The inclusion of luxury condos and market-rate units is “let them eat cake” housing policy at its worst.