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First Atlantic Ave. Mixed Use Plan community meeting approaches Jan. 17. Map notably includes Bedford Armory, now a shelter. Might site be transformed?

On Tuesday, Jan. 17, from 6-8 pm, the online Atlantic Avenue Mixed Use Plan (AAMUP) Community Kickoff will be held. Registration for the online workshop is at this Zoom link.

My previous coverage is here; the plan for rezoning and community investments grew out of a request from Council Member Crystal Hudson and other elected officials, building on the M-CROWN proposal from Brooklyn Community Board 8 and the concerns of residents responding to a series of one-off rezonings, which added density--encouraged by the Department of City Planning--without any associated improvements in open space, streetscape, schools, and more.

The area includes blocks adjacent to Atlantic Avenue in Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, and Bedford-Stuyvesant, as shown in the map below. 
The process is led by the Department of City Planning in collaboration with WXY Studio, local elected officials, and a Steering Committee which includes representation from the three impacted Community Districts: 2, 3, and 8.

As indicated in the poster:

  • Learn about the community planning process
  • Learn how you can share your priorities
  • Help identify key issues and opportunities

From Council Member Crystal Hudson's office:

More information is available at, and additional information regarding AAMUP will be announced in the coming weeks.
A focus to the east?

As I wrote, it will be interested to see to what extent it focuses on the blocks to the eastern end of the area, where there have been far fewer spot rezonings, transforming parcels constrained by outdated manufacturing zoning into valuable sites for high-rise apartments.

The AAMUP builds on Community Board 8's proposed M-CROWN rezoning, now encompassing blocks from Vanderbilt to Nostrand avenues near Aatlantic Avenue. 

As I wrote in my recent coverage of AAMUP, maybe it's random, but it's worth noting that both images of Atlantic Avenue provided in the Department of City Planning's two-page fact sheet, featured the Bedford Armory, which is very near the east end of the rezoning area. 

That deflects somewhat from focusing on the eight previous spot rezonings closer to Vanderbilt. But more parcels to the eastern end would be eligible for rezoning.

Also unclear: will the rezoning follow the M-CROWN goals and incentivize space for light manufacturing and other job-creating uses? As CB 8's Gib Veconi, a member of the Steering Committee, tweeted, "Hope that's part of the plan."

About the armory

Also worth watching: whether the Bedford Armory, currently serving as a (notorious) homeless shelter for men, would be included in the rezoning.

The AAMUP project map, below, suggests the Armory would be included. (It's the large parcel just below the "Ave" in "Atlantic Ave" toward the eastern end of the map.) If so, that would be the second change in the rezoning's proposed boundaries.

I checked with Andrew Wright, Director of Policy & Budget Initiatives for Council Member Hudson, whose response suggested that everything is on the table:
AAMUP will include a consideration of the potential use of city-owned sites in the corridor, including the Bedford Armory, for various public realm improvements or affordable housing development where possible. As of now, there are no proposals as to how the facility could be used or if it will change; that will be determined following various working group sessions and steering committee deliberations. More information will be shared at the kickoff meeting and in the coming weeks.

Armories have been sites of possibility and controversy, as shown by the contested development of the Bedford-Union Armory below Eastern Parkway, a key issue in the 2021 Council primary between Hudson and Michael Hollingsworth.

As shown in the images below, in previous maps regarding the M-CROWN rezoning, the Armory was omitted.

From DCP's 5/31/19 update
From 11/4/21 CB 8 presentation

Note that east of Grand Avenue, and especially east of Franklin Avenue, there is more territory north of Community District 8, thus part of CD 2.

Note that CB 8's Resolution Requesting a Study for Rezoning, approved 4/9/15 and amended 6/9/16 addressed "a six-block area located in the northwest sector of Crown Heights and bound by Atlantic Avenue, Franklin Avenue, Bergen Street, and Grand Avenue."

Similarly, a 9/12/19 Resolution Requesting a Multi-agency Study for Rezoning addressed the same area.

As did an 8/30/18 letter to DCP from Council Member Laurie Cumbo, Borough President Eric Adams, and CB 8 Chair Nizjoni Granville, describing the area as "located roughly between Grand Avenue, Atlantic Avenue, Bergen Street, and Franklin Avenue, extending along the southern side of Atlantic Avenue to Vanderbilt Avenue."

But as the maps indicate, the Department of City Planning by 2019 had proposed a larger study area.