BFC Partners’ original proposal for the Bedford Union Armory was put forth in 2014, together with Slate Property Group and Melo Enterprises (basketball star Carmelo Anthony’s holding company). Since then, both Slate and Anthony have dropped out of the project, but BFC Partners is still pursuing the development of this city property.
The original plans included 227 rental units and 24 “unique condominiums,” with 115 units of “affordable housing” and 64,592 square feet of commercial space. The partners promised 592 jobs would be created, 70% being temporary construction jobs. The buildout was supposed to take three years, with occupancy slated for June 2017. Obviously, this didn’t happen.
Both Slate Properties and Melo Enterprises have since backed out of the project, with BFC reportedly buying out Slate’s shares in Bedford Courts, LLC.
The current proposal for the Bedford Union Armory by BFC Partners is for recreational facilities including indoor sports fields and a swimming pool. The community is concerned about the proposal for “approximately 330 rental apartments” and about 60 luxury condos. According to the this new proposal, “30% of the total rental units will be permanently affordable.” However, the definition of “affordable” uses the tri-state regional AMI at $81,600 for a family of 3, which is far higher than Crown Heights’ median income.
Even though BFC Partners promises the recreational facilities they want to build in the Bedford Union Armory will be accessible to the community at some discount from rates “based upon similar facilities’ rates at the time of opening,” there is no legal requirement for these amenities to be affordable.
More importantly, housing around the rec center will immediately become more expensive as realtors tout access to the new state-of-the-art courts and retail as selling points for rentals and properties in Crown Heights. No amount of so-called “affordable housing” (using the regional standard) will be able to offset the rent increases this project would bring to the community.