The historic Marcy Ave Armory in Williamsburg is going up for sale—and it looks like the neighborhood's Hasidic community wants to get its hands on it in hopes of settling a long-standing sect feud.
The Armory, which is owned by the state and was once used by the National Guard, has been vacant since 2011, and has been primarily been used for film shoots—including a "culturally insensitive" Amazing Spider-Man 2 shoot over Passover last month that riled up religious leaders in the neighborhood. But rumors started swirling at the end of last month that Gov. Cuomo's office was in talks to sell the century-plus-old building to two Satmar factions in Williamsburg, led by two warring brothers and divided over a property dispute.
Rumor has it that the Satmars have been negotiating a joint buy through Abraham Eisner, an Orthodox businessman with ties to the Cuomo administration, though the Governor's office has not confirmed any deal. "It remains to be seen whether this deal, if true, would break the ice and become the first practical move towards restoring peace in one of the largest-most-growing Orthodox Jewish communities," Hasidic blog Let's Talk Dugri! reports. "This and more, if the two factions decide to act as a united force, this could become paradise for local and Statewide politicians, who would be able to rely on a bloc vote of almost 100,000 votes."
The Satmar community's population has been booming, and both factions are running out of space for schools and religious organizations. "Any space that would be provided would be important; otherwise we can’t survive here," local teacher Rabbi Hertz Frankel told the Times. Of course, the Hasidim aren't the only Brooklynites feeling a real estate pinch these days, and the state authority responsible for the building's sale say they hope proposals for buying the armory enable "a competitive process," so there's still a chance some Williamsburg entrepreneur will turn the 165,000-square-foot building into a massive hi-tech artisanal salsa factory—or the world's biggest IHOP!