Major R. Owens Health & Wellness Community Center Completes Construction in Crown Heights, Brooklyn

The Major R. Owens Health & Wellness Community Center - Photo by Brett BeyerThe Major R. Owens Health & Wellness Community Center - Photo by Brett Beyer

BFC Partners, city agencies, and local community groups recently celebrated the grand opening of Major R. Owens Health & Wellness Community Center in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The community center is named in honor of the late Congressman Major Owens and will offer sports and educational classes, camps, and programming for children and community members.

Designed by Marvel Architects, the 500,000-square-foot community center is located at 1561 Bedford Avenue and houses a 25-meter, six-lane competitive swimming pool, basketball courts, and a multi-purpose court for a variety of activities, including soccer and community programming. The building also includes 35,000 square feet of office space for nonprofits and community organizations.

“Investing in our people and communities, especially in ones that have often been overlooked, is how we build a recovery for all of us,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The Major R. Owens Health and Wellness Community Center will provide New Yorkers a place to thrive and grow for generations to come.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio celebrates the opening day at Major R. Owens Health & Wellness Community Center - Photo by Gerri Hernandez

Mayor Bill de Blasio celebrates the opening day at Major R. Owens Health & Wellness Community Center – Photo by Gerri Hernandez

[2]Opening day at Major R. Owens Health & Wellness Community Center - Photo by Gerri Hernandez

Opening day at Major R. Owens Health & Wellness Community Center – Photo by Gerri Hernandez

Opening day at Major R. Owens Health & Wellness Community Center - Photo by Gerri Hernandez

Opening day at Major R. Owens Health & Wellness Community Center – Photo by Gerri Hernandez

Standard memberships for the gym within the center cost $30 per month, while seniors and low-income adults below the 200 percent Federal Poverty Level can join for $10 per month and youth memberships are as little as $8 per month. Additionally, 50 percent of memberships will be discounted to $10 per month for residents who live in Community Board 9.

Local groups offering classes and programs include Imagine Swimming, New Heights Youth, Brooklyn Pride, Digital Girl, Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy, Globall Sports Center, and Betty Carter Auditorium for the Arts.

“Brooklyn Community Board 9 is excited for the grand opening of the Major R. Owens Health & Wellness Community Center,” said Fred Baptiste, chair of Community Board 9. “There is a critical need for enriching programs that provide positive outlets of physical and mental creative energy, training and skills for a 21st century economy, and the promotion of overall wellness. The board looks forward to working with the various vendors and organizations in servicing the residents of the district and Central Brooklyn.”

Swimming pool at Major R. Owens Health & Wellness Community Center - Photo by Brett Beyer

Swimming pool at Major R. Owens Health & Wellness Community Center – Photo by Brett Beyer

Community facility space at Major R. Owens Health & Wellness Community Center - Photo by Brett Beyer

Community facility space at Major R. Owens Health & Wellness Community Center – Photo by Brett Beyer

The next phase of development will create 415 units of housing. According to developers, 60 percent of the residential offering will be reserved for low-income New Yorkers. Additional components include a 25,000-square-foot health center operated by Brooklyn Plaza Medical Center. This phase is expected to be completed by 2023.

“We are absolutely thrilled to stand alongside our partners in celebration of the Major R. Owens Health and Wellness Center, welcoming in Crown Heights and Central Brooklyn residents,” said Donald Capoccia, principal of BFC Partners. “From after-school programming and dance lessons to camps and lifesaving swim classes, the Owens Center will become a key part of the lives of local Brooklynites. We are grateful for the support of our elected officials, community advocates and representatives, and nonprofit partners. All of it was necessary to bring this project to life, and we are ecstatic to begin providing safe, reliable, and accessible programming and social services to this community.”

Exterior view of the Major R. Owens Health & Wellness Community Center - Photo by Brett Beyer

Exterior view of the Major R. Owens Health & Wellness Community Center – Photo by Brett Beyer

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4 Comments on "Major R. Owens Health & Wellness Community Center Completes Construction in Crown Heights, Brooklyn"

  1. The word “armory” wasn’t used once in the article. Kinda strange.

    • YiMBY serves Real Estate interests who fear historic preservation is the best way to see why they weote the article this way.

  2. They should have reconstructed thr old tower.

  3. From their site:
    HISTORY

    Located at 1579 Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, the Bedford-Union Armory occupies nearly an entire city block between Bedford and Rogers Avenues and Union and President Streets. The site covers approximately 2.8 acres, with a footprint of 122,000 square feet.

    First known as the Troop C Armory, the Armory was designed in 1903 by Pilcher, Thomas and Tachau and was constructed between 1904 and 1908. As its original name implies, the Armory was designed for Cavalry Troop C, and was also one of the first structures to result from the Armory Board of New York City’s requirement that armory designs be selected from “open design” competitions. While the chosen design was respectful of the traditional armory aesthetic – incorporating castle motifs such as a crenellated parapet – the Armory was also designed to accommodate an entire squadron in mounted drills, and provided stables with adequate light and ventilation for horses.

    In addition to providing space for troops to train, store equipment, and spend off-duty time, the Armory included offices, a small gym, a rifle range and a swim tank. The cavalry’s stables included built-in horse troughs, a high, vaulted ceiling, and space to house, train and feed the unit’s horses.

    While their primary role was for military use, armories such as this one have always played an important role in local communities, and, during peacetime, historically served as gathering places for neighborhood residents and sporting events.

    The Armory was decommissioned for military use and the site was taken over by the City of New York in 2013. The Armory has been vacant and underused for years.

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