Monday, March 2, 2020

950 New Apartments Planned Along Gowanus Canal

A decade long plan for a barren swath of city-owned land in Gowanus will soon transform the toxic site with a mix of middle- to high-rise housing.

Gowanus Green will be a sustainable mixed-use community along the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn that will feature approximately 950 new residential units, neighborhood serving retail and community space, and a future potential school across from a new public park.

Co-developed by Jonathan Rose Companies, The Hudson Companies, The Bluestone Organization, and Fifth Avenue Committee, Gowanus Green will transform the site of a former manufactured gas plant into a resilient and environmentally healthy community that reconnects the surrounding neighborhood to the Gowanus Canal.

Gowanus Green will be comprised of six residential buildings with approximately 950 units of housing serving a wide range of incomes and needs, including housing dedicated to formerly homeless, senior and extremely low-income New Yorkers. 

The development will feature retail space along Smith Street, and neighborhood serving uses and community spaces, such as early childcare, healthcare, senior programming, and a range of space for artists and makers that reflect the neighborhood theme.

The project will feature a network of unique open spaces that connect people to the proposed esplanade and public park after the site has been fully remediated, including a pedestrian-oriented Shared Street, active and meditative Rain Gardens, and other community gathering areas. 

Gowanus Green is committed to being a sustainable, resilient and environmentally healthy community that improves site resilience, generates renewable energy, and implements innovative stormwater management strategies that reduce combined sewer overflows into Gowanus Canal.

The 5.8-acre site, bounded roughly by Smith Street and the Gowanus Canal between Nelson and Fifth streets, was once a manufactured gas plant. The coal-tar contaminated land sat empty for decades until the city acquired it, designating the plot a “public place.”

Such a provision prohibits residential development unless the land is rezoned, and neighbors who had hoped the site would largely convert into parkland with low-rise buildings were skeptical of the latest vision for the “Gowanus Green” project with seven buildings that could rise from five up to 28 stories. 

In 2008, a development team made up of Hudson Companies, Jonathan Rose Companies, Bluestone Organization, and the Fifth Avenue Committee were selected by then Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration to realize the project. Gowanus Green would be the area’s largest affordable housing development and is on the doorstep of Carroll Gardens, one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in Brooklyn.

The development will include 950 apartments, a public school, retail and community space, and a variety of resiliency measures to defend against flooding. The project could be entirely affordable, or at least have 74 percent of its units at below-market-rate. 

The Gowanus rezoning plan will boost density and encourage mix-used projects in the neighborhood. City planners expect the rezoning to create a whopping 8,200 new apartments by 2035.

“The purpose of the new density is to make it possible for people—working class folks, low- to-moderate income folks—who cannot possibly afford a unit in the district,” said City Council member Brad Lander.

The Department of Environmental Protection will oversee the remediation of the land, which is a Brownfield site due to its history as a manufactured gas plant.