City Will Study Residential Rezoning of Gowanus, But Locals Want More Affordable Housing

Posted On Tue, August 2, 2016 By

Posted On Tue, August 2, 2016 By In affordable housing, Gowanus, Policy, real estate trends

When the area surrounding the Gowanus Canal was designated a Superfund site by the EPA in 2010, it seemed all but impossible that the contaminated, warehouse-laden neighborhood could get on par with the rest of Brooklyn. But recent years have brought major cleanup efforts along the 1.8-mile Canal, leading to new additions like a Whole Foods (quite possibly the first sign of gentrification) and subsequent interest from developers in creating higher end housing. This fall, reports DNAinfo, the Department of City Planning will launch a study to explore a rezoning of Gowanus that would allow for more residential developments in what is currently an industrial section.

Locals, however, have similar concerns to those who opposed the recent, controversial East New York rezoning–that it will only incentive developers, causing displacement of longtime residents, and that any affordable housing put forth in the plan would still be out of reach for the lowest income residents. They’ve therefore created their own redevelopment plan called Bridging Gowanus, which, as the Times notes, calls for “greater density and more affordable apartments in return for improvements and guarantees that preserve the precarious soul of the district.”

tour the gowanus canal, Brooklyn Atlantis Project

Bridging Gownaus is being spearheaded by City Councilman Brad Lander, who told DNAinfo, “It’s not an exaggeration to say that if we don’t do anything, it’s going to become a whole bunch of hotels and self-storage facilities with a few entertainment uses thrown in, and that’s not the Gowanus people want.” Already, manufacturing and art spaces have begun to move out of the neighborhood as real estate prices are increasing. “Is there risk in planning for growth in a way that includes some residential development?” Lander continued, “Of course there is. … But I think people believe there’s a chance to get it right.”

To meet this goal, the Councilman will hold public workshops beginning next week and issue an online survey that asks residents to rank neighborhood priorities such as “strengthening manufacturing and creating jobs, creating affordable housing, preserving the neighborhood’s arts community and improving its environmental health.”

[Via DNAinfo and NYT]

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Lead image: 365 Bond Street, which is marketing itself as “Paris-on-the-Gowanus

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Neighborhoods : Gowanus

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