23rd Regiment Armory in Crown Heights
Department of Homeless Services operates a 350-bed men’s shelter in head house of landmarked Armory. On August 14, 2012, the City Economic Development Corporation issued a request for proposals from developers interested in leasing and reusing a 50,000-square-foot drill hall space in the 23rd Regiment Armory at the corner Bedford and Atlantic Avenues in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The National Guard completed the Romanesque Revival-style Armory in 1895. The Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the building as an individual landmark in 1977. Since 1982 the Department of Homeless Services has used the Armory’s five-story head house as a 350-bed homeless shelter. EDC is seeking proposals to develop “neighborhood-serving uses” in the adjacent drill hall and enhance community access to the space. The selected developer would control the drill hall space through a triple net ground lease, which would require the developer to be responsible for operating expenses, insurance, repairs, and property taxes.
Court of Appeals reversed First Department’s strongly worded opinion. In 2001, Columbia University contacted the City’s Economic Development Corporation in an effort to redevelop West Harlem as part of a campus expansion. Not long after, EDC issued a West Harlem Master Plan that stated that West Harlem could be redeveloped through rezoning. EDC, after it issued the master plan, hired a private firm to examine the neighborhood conditions of West Harlem. The study concluded that the area was blighted.
While the study was ongoing, Columbia began purchasing property to effectuate its own redevelopment plan. Two years after the purchasing began, Columbia met with the Empire State Development Corporation and EDC to discuss its plan and the proposed condemnation of privately owned land. Empire State retained the same consultant that Columbia had used, who also found the area suffered from blight. Empire State later hired a second consultant with no connection to Columbia to conduct another blight study. The study also found blighted conditions throughout the area. Shortly after, Empire State authorized the acquisition of property through eminent domain, and several affected property owners filed petitions challenging the determination. (read more…)
Property owners challenge ESDC’s authority to use eminent domain on behalf of Columbia. Looking to expand in West Harlem, Columbia University teamed up with the City’s Economic Development Corporation in 2001 to redevelop the area. Not long after, EDC issued a West Harlem Master Plan. The plan stated that West Harlem could be redeveloped through rezoning, and did not mention any blighted conditions in Manhattanville. Columbia began purchasing property in the area in 2002 for its own redevelopment and expansion plan. The seventeen-acre project site, bounded by West 133rd Street on the north, West 125th Street on the south, Broadway and Old Broadway on the east, and Twelfth Avenue on the west, would include sixteen new buildings, and a contiguous below-grade support facility.
Two years after the purchasing began, Columbia met with the Empire State Development Corporation and EDC to discuss Columbia’s plan and the condemnation of land. Subsequently, EDC issued a study concluding the area was blighted. ESDC retained Columbia’s consultant, who also found the area suffered from blight. ESDC later commissioned a second blight study with a consultant without ties to Columbia. The study also found blighted conditions throughout the area. Seven months after the second study, ESDC authorized the acquisition of certain property through eminent domain, and several affected property owners filed petitions challenging the determination. (read more…)
- Proposed redevelopment of the Bronx’s Kingsbridge Armory. Image: Courtesy of Related Companies.
City Planning Commission approved Related Companies’ Kingsbridge Armory plan,with four Commissioners voting against proposal. On October 19, 2009, the City Planning Commission approved Related Companies’ proposal to redevelop the landmarked Kingsbridge Armory in northwest Bronx. The plan is a result of the combined efforts of the EDC and the Kingsbridge Armory Task Force, which was established by the City in 2006 to facilitate the development of the vacant building.
Related’s proposal includes building a four-story structure within the armory’s 180,000 sq.ft. drill hall, leaving its landmarked exterior unaltered. Combined with the armory’s three basement levels, this would create seven levels of usable space. The project would provide 500,000 sq.ft. of commercial and retail space, including a movie theater and fitness facility. It would also provide 27,000 sq.ft. of community facility space, 30,000 sq.ft. of public open space, and approximately 400 sub-level accessory parking spaces. (read more…)
Willets Point, as envisioned by EDC. Image: EDC.
Eminent domain supported if negotiations with local businesses fail. On September 24, 2008, the City Planning Commission approved a modified version of the Willets Point Redevelopment Plan, and sent the contentious plan to the City Council. EDC’s plan calls for the creation of the Special Willets Point District, an Urban Renewal Area designation, and a rezoning for the 61-acre area known as the “Iron Triangle” in Queens. 5 CityLand 57 (May 15, 2008).
The plan has drawn criticism from local businesses and elected officials, and has led to the filing of at least one lawsuit against the City. At the June 13, 2007 City Council Land Use Committee and Economic Development Committee joint oversight hearing on EDC’s proposal, Land Use Chair Melinda Katz criticized EDC’s decision to begin the land use process before selecting a developer, while other Council Members questioned EDC’s plan to develop the entire site as opposed to a more stepped approach that would allow existing businesses to remain in the area. 4 CityLand 87 (July 15, 2007). (read more…)
333-space parking garage to be located at the former Board of Education headquarters. The Planning Commission approved an application by Two Trees Management and EDC for a 333-space public parking garage to be located within the 300,000-square-foot, former Board of Education headquarters at 110 Livingston Street in Brooklyn. Two Trees plans to convert the 1925 building and construct an 88,000-square-foot addition for 308 residential units and a 6,000-square-foot community theater. Two Trees will maintain the building’s distinct facade, designed by McKim, Mead & White.
The property is bounded by Boerum Place, and Livingston, Court and Schermerhorn Streets. Access to the proposed 55,560- square-foot garage would be provided by a new curb cut on Livingston Street and the existing curb cut on Schermerhorn Street. To satisfy the parking requirement triggered by the addition, 42 of the 333 parking spaces would be dedicated to the new residential units and there would be 17 reservoir spaces. (read more…)