950-unit ‘Gowanus Green’ development met with skepticism by local residents who hoped for a park

December 4, 2019

Photo by Danny Navaro via Flickr cc

During a Brooklyn Community Board 6 meeting on Monday night, architects, developers, and city officials revealed preliminary plans for Gowanus Green, a multi-building development on a 5.8-acre site at the corner of Smith and Fifth Streets. Once home to a gas plant, the city-owned site has been vacant for decades and was designated as a “public place” in 1974. As the Brooklyn Daily Eagle first reported, Carroll Gardens and Gowanus residents who were expecting that the site would become a park widely panned the new proposal for a series of buildings ranging from a five-story school to a 28-story residential tower.

The site is the largest city-owned site in the Gowanus rezoning area which could bring more than 8,000 residential units to the neighborhood. The current proposal includes 950 apartments, a public school (it hasn’t yet been determined whether it will be an elementary, middle, or high school), retail, and community space (including a small public park). The project would also include a variety of resiliency measures, which is a strong focus of the entire rezoning effort.

The developers—Hudson Companies, Jonathan Rose Companies, Bluestone Organization, and the Fifth Avenue Committee—tapped Marvel Architects and SCAPE for the design of Gowanus Green. Members of the architecture and development teams fielded questions on Monday while emphasizing that details of the project are still being worked out.

“It’s been a messy conversation for the past three years; there has been a difference of opinions,” Jonathan Keller, a project manager with the Department of City Planning, said during the meeting, as reported by Curbed. “We tried to balance those throughout the rezoning area and, specifically on this site when it comes to scale, we’ve kept things low on the perimeter, taller in the middle, and we’re still discussing our affordability.”

Many attendees were curious about how the apartments would split in terms of affordable and market-rate options. Aaron Koffman of Hudson Companies said as much as 74 percent of the units will be below-market-rate and set aside for residents making between 30 percent of Area Median Income (AMI) and 120 percent of AMI.

“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. “That’s why to me this achieves a public purpose.”

[Via Brooklyn Daily Eagle]


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