The long-awaited cleanup of the Gowanus Canal officially has a start date. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday issued an administrative order requiring the start of the first phase of the project, 10 years after the agency declared it a Superfund site. Expected to begin in September and take 30 months to complete, the $125 million project covers the cleanup of the upper canal and the 1st Street turning basin and involves “full-scale dredging,” according to the agency.
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.
Photos courtesy of LPC
The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission on Tuesday designated five properties in Gowanus as individual landmarks ahead of the neighborhood’s impending rezoning. The buildings are architecturally significant examples of Brooklyn’s industrial past with relationships to the Canal, according to the commission. “These buildings stand out in the neighborhood as tangible reminders of the rich history of the neighborhood and the Gowanus Canal,” LPC Chair Sarah Carroll said. “They are all inherently connected to the manufacturing industries and institutions that developed around the canal in the late-19th and early-20th century.”
Since taking office, Donald Trump and his administration have been proposing cuts to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that would decrease funding for the cleanup of the Gowanus Canal. Declared a federal Superfund site in 2010, the Canal has a major issue with combined sewer overflow (CSO), which occurs when heavy rainfall overtaxes the sewer system and causes stormwater runoff and wastewater to empty into the waterway. As Brooklyn Eagle reports, the city’s proposal to mitigate this issue was to “replace two [CSO] retention tanks holding 8 and 4 million gallons with a 16 million-gallon CSO tunnel running beneath the upper portion of the canal.” However, in a letter obtained by the Eagle, Trump EPA appointee Pete Lopez said that they would instead install two large retention tanks along the Canal walls.
Photos by Rise Media and Devon Banks, courtesy of The Corcoran Group.
Gowanus was until recently brownstone Brooklyn’s best kept secret for loft-industrial living in the midst of a historic neighborhood. Though the secret’s out, homes like this one at 467 Carroll Street embody the neighborhood’s creative spirit and mix of old and new. Built from the ground up and designed by designer/architect Ted Kane in collaboration with the owner, also a designer, this 1,616-square-foot single-family home takes advantage of Brooklyn townhouse living, modern comforts included. Asking $2.7 million, the home is energy-efficient as well as luxury-filled, and the garden is a dream for outdoor living.
Photos by Vanessa DeGarcia, courtesy of The Corcoran Group
If there’s one building that has come to represent the preservation movement in Gowanus, it very well might be the Coignet Stone Building. Built in 1873 as a showroom and physical advertisement for Francois Coignet’s concrete construction company, it was the first documented concrete building in the city. Whole Foods purchased the property in 2005 and built its new supermarket next door, and the following year, the Coignet Buiding was landmarked. After years of neglect, Whole Foods completed a $1.3 million restoration in 2016, listing the property shortly thereafter for $6 million. It’s now back for a hair more, and though a gut interior renovation is definitely required, it’s being sold as a residential townhouse that has incredible potential.
Five properties in Gowanus may be landmarked as the Brooklyn neighborhood prepares to be rezoned. The Landmarks Preservation Commission on Tuesday voted to calendar eight buildings across five properties in the neighborhood, describing them as both architecturally significant, as well as closely associated with the history of the Gowanus Canal. The decision to calendar the sites comes after the city released in January its rezoning draft for Gowanus, which includes enabling more residential buildings and access to the waterfront.
A few years ago designers Merrill Lyons and Charles Brill started the full renovation of their Gowanus townhouse, which involved “gutting it down to the brick facade, beams, and stair railings” and adding a deck in the back. The results—worthy of a feature in Dwell Magazine—mix the historic townhouse bones with modern lines and pops of color. With three bedrooms, space to spread out outdoors, and an inviting ambiance throughout, the residence is very family-friendly. The garden level is currently an income-generating rental unit, but it could be incorporated into the upper floors to create a larger single-family residence. Originally built in 1901, this completely transformed property is now on the market for $3,195,000.
Via NYC Planning
The Department of City Planning on Wednesday released a draft of its plan to rezone Gowanus as a way to bring more affordable housing, jobs, and community resources to the Brooklyn neighborhood. In the works for nearly three years, the proposal includes a waterfront access plan that creates public walkways centered around the canal, as well as builds a more resilient shoreline.
A charming and full-of-potential home at 240 11th Street in Gowanus (near the Park Slope border) just hit the market for a cool $1,995,000. To match its historic rowhouse facade, the home offers loads of stunning original details, but it may benefit from some modern upgrades to really let those bones sing. It features four bedrooms and a flexible layout over three floors, with plenty of options for its future owner.