Description & History
In 1964, with the cooperation of Senator Jacob K. Javits and Mayor John W. Lindsay, Senator Robert F. Kennedy set into motion a round of legislative action that created the Special Impact Program, an amendment to the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. He announced a seven point action plan that would serve as a national model for community development. The plan called for the formation of the Bedford Stuyvesant Renewal and Rehabilitation Corporation and the Development Services Corporation, involving assistance from some of the foremost leaders of the American business community.
Under the leadership of Judge Thomas R. Jones, in 1967 the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (Restoration) was formally established to consolidate and carry forward these efforts. Deputy Police Commissioner Franklin A. Thomas, an original board member of the Bedford Stuyvesant Renewal and Rehabilitation Corporation and later to become President of the Ford Foundation, was elected as Restoration?s first president. Initial funding support came from the Taconic Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, the Edgar M. Stern Family Fund, the J.M. Kaplan Fund and the Ford Foundation.
One year later, Restoration purchased an abandoned milk bottling plant in the heart of Bedford Stuyvesant, Sheffield Farms, to serve as its new corporate headquarters. Renovations soon began to create what is now known as Restoration Plaza. Completed in 1972, today this 300,000 square feet commercial plaza is home to Restoration?s headquarters, the Billie Holiday Theatre, the Skylight Gallery and scores of local businesses, non-profits and government agencies, including bank branches of Chase, Washington Mutual Bank and Citibank, Super Foodtown, the College of New Rochelle and Assemblywoman Annette Robinson?s office.