All 950 units at city’s Gowanus housing development will be affordable

November 23, 2020

Rendering courtesy of Marvel Architects/SCAPE Landscape Architects

The city’s proposed six-building residential development in Gowanus will be 100 percent affordable, officials announced last week. The Gowanus Green project, part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration’s plan to rezone the Brooklyn neighborhood, will contain 950 units of affordable housing, with at least 50 percent designated to extremely low and very low-income households. Previously, the plan called for roughly 74 percent of units to fall below the market rate.

The project, developed by a joint venture of Fifth Avenue Committee, the Bluestone Organization, the Hudson Companies, and the Jonathan Rose Companies and designed by Marvel Architects/ SCAPE Landscape Architects, is planned for the corner of Smith and 5th Streets on a vacant, city-owned site.

The affordability breakdown consists of 50 percent of rental units dedicated to households at or below 50 percent of the area median income (AMI), which is about $51,200 for a family of three. According to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, no more than 40 percent of the housing will be for moderate-income households, which consists of households with incomes between about $81,920 and $122,800 for a family of three. And about 15 percent of units will be set aside for formerly homeless New Yorkers and about 12 percent will be for seniors aged 62 years and older.

In addition to the affordable housing, the Gowanus Green project calls for a new 1.5-acre waterfront park that will connect to a proposed esplanade along the canal, a new public school, and 30,000 square feet of commercial and community space.

“Gowanus Green is a model of how affordable housing can be transformative for neighborhoods and is beneficial for whole communities,” HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll, said in a statement. “Anchoring the Gowanus Neighborhood Plan with a 100 percent affordable development that will infuse the community with new green spaces accessible to everyone, while contributing to the area’s resiliency, will make this thriving community an even more vibrant and inclusive place to live.”

The Gowanus Green site is the largest city-owned site in the neighborhood’s rezoning area. The rezoning, expected to enter the public land use review process in January, could create over 8,000 apartments, with 3,000 of the units affordable.

Roughly 10 years after the Environmental Protection Agency declared it a Superfund site, the cleanup of the Gowanus Canal kicked off earlier this month. The first phase of the cleanup, which will take 30 months to complete, covers the cleanup of the upper canal and the 1st Street turning basin and involves “full-scale dredging,” according to the EPA.

The Canal’s sediment is full of hazardous contaminants due to manufacturing companies dumping toxic waste directly into the waterway since the mid-1800s. Overflows from sewer systems from homes and storm drains also continue to pollute the body of water. The EPA found more than a dozen contaminants, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, and heavy metals, at high levels in the sediment, as 6sqft previously noted.


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