The banks of the Gowanus. Image courtesy of Department of City Planning
Attempts to rezone the area surrounding the Gowanus Canal, a neighborhood both affluent and in transition, have been in the works for over a decade. Now, Brownstoner reports, the long-anticipated Draft Planning and Land Use Framework of Gowanus has just been released by the Department of City Planning (DCP). The 188-page report is the result of 100 hours of outreach since the launch of the Gowanus PLACES Study in 2016 as well as information contained in a previous Bridging Gowanus Study released in 2014.
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The Salt Lot is a triangular piece of land just south of the point at which all three branches of the Gowanus Canal meet. The city-owned site hosts a NYC Compost Project facility, as well as the Gowanus Canal Conservancy’s nursery and educational facilities. However, the EPA has mandated a new four-million-gallon retention tank be placed there to manage combined sewer overflow. Gowanus by Design (GbD) saw this new infrastructure requirement as a catalyst for sparking conversation about much needed public urban space in the area. They’ve therefore created a conceptual proposal for the Gowanus Salt Lot Public Park, which includes three buildings constructed with materials that reference the Canal’s industrial history, along with sloping hills and wetlands.
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With cleanup efforts underway along the notoriously polluted Canal and a slew of new developments rising, Gowanus is undoubtedly one of the top neighborhoods to watch. But we can’t talk about its future without also looking back at its history. On October 28th, the Municipal Art Society is hosting a walking tour of Gowanus led by architectural historian Matt Postal that will explore the area’s past as an industrial shipping center and its transformation into a trendy, artistic enclave. Not only will the two-hour tour take you to the city’s oldest concrete structure and oldest retractile bridge, but it’ll make stops at the new residential and commercial spaces. Interested in attending for free? MAS is giving away two tickets to “Gowanus Grows in Brooklyn,” but today is the last day to enter!
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Image via BHS
This renovation of a former ink and brush factory in the heart of Gowanus hits all the right notes, hearkening back the neighborhood’s industrial roots and channeling the current artsy vibe that permeates the blocks. Located at 459 Carroll Street, the residence occupies three floors of a massive brick structure built back in 1888, stretching more than 4,600 square feet of live/work space across three stories built atop a 25-foot by 100-foot lot. The super-sized property also comes with three generously proportioned artists studios and a beautiful 900-square-foot planted terrace engulfed by views of neighboring gardens and the cityscape. If you’re on the market for unpretentious luxury and lots of space to sprawl out in or wield a paintbrush, all of this can be yours for $3.95M.
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Rendering courtesy of SCAPE Landscape Architecture
The Gowanus Canal Conservancy (GCC) has announced the launch of Gowanus Lowlands, a new comprehensive vision for the transformation of Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood and a ‘blueprint for NYC’s next great park.’ As 6sqft has previously reported, between developers eyeing the pricey parcel of southwest Brooklyn land as Paris on the Gowanus and the city’s ambitions to transform the long-embattled area into “Little Venice,” all eyes have been on the neighborhood and the once-toxic, steadily improving Superfund canal that anchors it. With an important rezoning on the horizon–the process kicked off last October with meetings to gauge community opinion–passions are running high. The conservancy has identified SCAPE landscape architecture studio to guide the Lowlands vision toward reality.
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At a mere 15 feet wide and two stories high, this compact townhouse at 629 President Street is priced to compete with–and beat–many a smaller condo at $1.825 million. Hiding in plain sight on a street of similarly cute and compact brick townhomes at the spot where Park Slope meets Gowanus (making it also home to just about every amazing amenity in Brooklyn) this otherwise nondescript 1900s home becomes a surprise of a sweet, spacious and bright farmhouse once you step inside. It’s a pretty neat trick.
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363 Bond Street, via Lightstone Group
When the Lightstone Group revealed their two-building, 700-unit, $350 million rental project at 363-365 Bond Street, right on the banks of the notoriously toxic Gowanus Canal, president Mitchell Hochberg said it was inspired by a residential project in the Canal Saint-Martin neighborhood in Paris that helped create a “newly hip atmosphere” near a similarly polluted waterway. Despite the area’s Superfund status, the promise of living in a trendy, up-and-coming area surely appealed to many; when the lottery opened for the 86 affordable units at #365, nearly 60,000 people applied. Now, the lottery is opening for the 54 below-market rate apartments at the under-construction #363, ranging from $833/month studios to $1,082/two-bedrooms, available to those earning 60 percent of the area median income.
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Rendering of Powerhouse Workshop via Herzog & de Meuron
Despite its Superfund status, the Gowanus Canal has ushered in a Whole Foods, an artisanal ice cream factory, and more than one high-end residential development, but one vestige of its gritty, industrial days has remained–the so-called Batcave. Build in 1904 as the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company’s Central Power Station, the warehouse was taken out of service in the ’50s, becoming in the 2000s a home for squatters, venue for impromptu dance parties, and unofficial street art display. But it looks like the former warehouse will now join the ranks of its Brooklyn-esque neighbors, as the Times reports that Pritzker Prize-winning Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron will transform the space into an art production factory and exhibition space to be called the Powerhouse Workshop, though it will preserve the iconic graffiti
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Valentine’s Day may have just passed but the backyard of this Gowanus townhouse looks romantic for any day of the year. Decked out with greenery, tea lights and a mini guest house, it’s a nice perk to the historic brick three-bedroom, two-bathroom triplex townhouse at 112 14th Street. The $1.495 million pad is plenty charming inside, too, with exposed brick walls, four fireplaces and high ceilings throughout.
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The real estate community has been looking closely at Gowanus as of late thanks to rezoning plans that will likely spur high-end development and proposals for a public esplanade. To some, this waterfront vision seems a bit off due to the toxicity of the Canal and its history as a Superfund site, but naysayers may be changing their tune as a new report from the New York State Department of Health tells us that “limited direct contact with the canal’s waters, through boating or fishing” doesn’t increase the risk of cancer and other diseases, according to Gothamist. It’s still not safe to swim in the water, but, believe it or not, men and women of certain ages can even eat some of the Canal’s fish.
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