After years of delay, the future of Crown Heights’ Bedford-Union Armory has been determined: the former military facility will go residential.
The 138,000-square-foot property at 1555 Bedford Avenue was built in 1903 for the Troop C Cavalry Unit and handed over to the city from the state in 2013, which subsequently issued a request for developer proposals and held a series of public meetings about plans for the center last year. The property is one of two armories in Crown Heights.
For years, locals have been requesting the space — long unused but for the occasional wedding, fundraiser, or other large-scale event — be converted into affordable housing, a fitness center, or something that generally benefits the community. Locals previously rejected a city proposal to convert the armory into a hotel, and considered other proposals for a senior center or small-business incubator.
Now, according to DNAinfo, an unnamed private developer has been selected and plans on converting the space into 12 private townhouses, to be built in the armory’s former President Street horse stables, as well as affordable and market-rate apartments. The site will also include a public recreation center, to be operated by nonprofit CAMBA, and equipped with swimming pool, three basketball courts, and an indoor soccer field.
The apartment units, both market-rate and affordable, will be built on a parking garage currently located on the armory’s east side. The complex will be 50 percent market-rate, 30 percent middle-income, and 20 percent low-income, DNAinfo said.
The zoning on the parking garage site allows for the construction of a building as high as 13 stories. No architect has yet been named.
The developer will buy the townhouse site outright and acquire a 99-year ground lease for the rest of the site.
The armory was recently in the news because concert promoters planned a two-day electronic music event there called The Time Warp Festival, to take place in late November. The rave was cancelled after local residents and pols objected.
Next in the process of the armory’s conversion will be the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), in which the local community board, borough president, mayor, and City Council will review and approve or reject the redevelopment agenda.
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