SkyscraperPage Forum

SkyscraperPage Forum (
-   General Development (
-   -   NEW YORK | Gowanus Canal Redevelopment (

NYguy Jan 30, 2019 7:36 PM

NEW YORK | Gowanus Canal Redevelopment

City releases Gowanus rezoning proposal, calls for denser towers, waterfront access, affordable housing
The industrial Brooklyn neighborhood is poised for big changes

By Amy Plitt
Jan 30, 2019


Gowanus may be poised for major changes in the not-so-distant future: A potential rezoning of Gowanus has been in the cards for several years, and today, the city finally unveiled its proposal for the Brooklyn neighborhood.

“We’ve been listening to, learning from and working with neighborhood residents, businesses, community organizations and elected officials. There’s a consistent message: grow smart and grow green,” Marisa Lagos, the commissioner of the Department of City Planning, said in a statement. The rezoning proposal, she says, “will assure that the Gowanus that we love today will remain a vibrant mixed-use community for generations of Brooklynites to come.”

The proposal is based off of the framework prepared by DCP over the summer, and builds off of some of the key points of that framework: creating more (and affordable) housing, prioritizing space for light industrial and cultural institutions, and cleaning up the Superfund-adjacent neighborhood

Some of the key points:

-While many parts of the neighborhood would be zoned for both residential and commercial use, some would remain exclusively dedicated to manufacturing (including some blocks adjacent to Fourth Avenue).

-The maximum height for new buildings would be 22 stories, save for a lot at 5th and Smith streets, which could become home to a “major mixed-use development with housing reaching deeper levels of affordability and additional space for community facilities, retail and open space,” which could rise 25-30 stories.

-DCP will mandate not only affordable housing for new residential developments through the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) provision—including on Fourth Avenue, which was previously rezoned—but also publicly-accessible waterfront space for any canal-adjacent developments.

-The city will allow “flexible building envelopes” along the canal to encourage diverse, good design.

-Brownfield clean-up will be prioritized.

-Zoning rules will be relaxed above transit stations (like 4th Avenue-9th Street) to allow for denser buildings, while bringing in improvements to subway stations (including ones that would make them ADA compliant).

NYguy Jan 30, 2019 7:41 PM

General info:

NYguy Feb 4, 2019 10:30 PM

Pretty good potential here...


pico44 Feb 5, 2019 1:26 PM


Originally Posted by NYguy (Post 8460798)

Ohhh baby. This would be great. And New York has these canals all over the city....

I have a fantasy of a fully developed Newtown Creek all the way to Williamsburg.

liat91 Feb 11, 2019 1:58 PM

Awesome. New York was never meant to be a gritty dump.

NYguy Feb 11, 2019 4:57 PM


Originally Posted by pico44 (Post 8461320)
I have a fantasy of a fully developed Newtown Creek all the way to Williamsburg.

Newtown Creek should get some development, as developable land is becoming more scarce across the city.

Locals are already pushing back on the Gowanus rezoning plan
Some are calling for more investment in affordable housing

February 11, 2019


The Gowanus rezoning plan is already attracting heaps of criticism from residents.

Many are demanding that the city put more investment into public housing before they complete the plan, and others are pushing back against allowing for more 20- and 30-story buildings in the neighborhood, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Officials at the Department of City Planning said the plan would lead to thousands of new affordable housing units in Gowanus and provide developers with incentives to include manufacturing and arts spaces in their projects.

Developers would need to raise the shoreline by the canal and build flood-proof buildings, and they would be responsible for remediating the land they build on as well. The rezoning also permits the construction of new green spaces and an esplanade.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2016 in late 2017 started to clean up the canal Superfund Site, which is expected to be completed by 2022.

Katia Kelly, who has lived close to the canal for 32 years, told the Journal that the city should not encourage developers to build high-density apartments close to the canal.

“We’ve all seen what this area looks like when it is flooded on a regular basis,” she said. “It’s so shortsighted to be building affordable housing in a flood zone.”

NYguy Feb 15, 2019 7:30 PM

DCP To Present Gowanus Draft Zoning Feb. 28 At PS 133

By Pamela Wong
February 15, 2019


Prior to the Draft Zoning Proposal’s release, Gowanus by Design (GbD) also provided its response to DCP regarding the Framework and presented it at the CB6 Land Use Committee meeting on January 24. GbD is a non-profit urban design advocacy group that proposes solutions in shaping and designing Gowanus in a sustainable, diverse, and inclusive way.

“The Draft Zoning Proposal is promising, demonstrating a sensitivity to community requests to support mixed uses and provide more affordable housing,” Gowanus By Design Executive Director David Briggs said in an email.

“However, we are concerned with the impact of significant new residential development on the local infrastructure. The local transit system, particularly the subway, is already reaching a breaking point during peak commuting times. As part of fostering a responsible, sustainable urban strategy, we call on the city to reconsider the zoning proposal in the context of its broader impact on infrastructure that the community relies on,” Briggs added.

While GbD lauds the draft zoning proposal’s inclusion of mandatory affordable housing, affordable commercial/arts/maker spaces, new public spaces, and resiliency measures, it also highlights some adverse impacts of the rezoning such as overcrowding, the need for more school seats, and an increase in ridership on the area’s subways (F, G, and R lines).


The day before DCP’s open house last week, the Gowanus Landmarking Coalition launched its website listing 15 priority sites and districts in Gowanus that the group has requested the NYC Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC) to consider for landmark designation.

“We’ve seen this before in recent city-led neighborhood rezonings,” Brad Vogel, a Coalition member and Gowanus resident, said in a statement. “Landmarking has been left as something of an afterthought in places like East Harlem, Inwood, and East New York when it needs to happen prior to the major changes that come with city-led rezonings. We hope the city will take a better course here in Gowanus.”

The Gowanus Landmarking Coalition is made up of neighborhood, city, and historical groups including the Historic Districts Council, Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus (FROGG), The Old Stone House, and the Park Slope Civic Council.

In May 2018, the Coalition held a press conference to discuss 33 potential Gowanus landmark sites. The group has since narrowed down the list to 15 priority sites including: Gowanus Station (234 Butler Street); Gowanus Flushing Tunnel Pump House (209 Douglass Street); ASPCA Memorial Building and Horse Trough (233 Butler Street); American Can Factory (232 3rd Street); Brooklyn Rapid Transit Powerhouse (322 3rd Avenue); S.W. Bowne Grain Storehouse (595-611 Smith Street); Union Street Bridge Control Tower; The Green Building (450-460 Union Street); the 2nd Street Historic District; and the Head-of-Canal Historic District.

Here's the group presentation...

BBMW Mar 3, 2019 10:18 PM

How about draining it filling it in, and developing the new land. It's not going to be used as a commercial waterway. And it would be a lot easier to do the pollution remediation dry.

NYguy Mar 6, 2019 3:50 AM








peteybrooklyn1959 Mar 6, 2019 5:57 PM

Incredible potential
NYguy....You are absolutely 100% correct...THE POTENTIAL ALONG THE GOWANUS CANAL IS LIMITLESS. With the view of the Downtown Brooklyn Skyline in the background, when fully developed this will make the pictures you posted absolutely POST CARD QUALITY !!! Unfortunately as you also mentioned, the NIMBY's are pushing back. They'd rather keep things as they are A SEWER DUMP rather than develop the area. IT'S NIMBY'S VS YIMBY'S AGAIN..THAT REAL ESTATE GAME SHOW !!!! HEY NIMBY'S...LEAVE THIS AREA ALONE TO BE DEVELOPED..PLUS IF YOU SUE...YOU WILL LOSE IN COURT SO LET THE CITY MEET IT'S POTENTIAL. HEY NIMBY'S..MAYBE THERE CAN BE SOME MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN THIS AREA TOO SO A RETIRED MAN LIKE ME CAN STAY IN NEW YORK AND LIVE IN AN AREA LIKE THIS....NIMBY'S....IT'S CALLED P-R-O-G-R-E-S-S.....GET IT !!!!

steyin Mar 7, 2019 6:26 PM

This area is already pretty high in rent, I'm sure I wouldn't be able to afford the "affordable" units if/when they come anyway. That is pretty much true in other neighborhoods around me, but that comes back to the cost of land/real estate in NY anyway. All that aside, I'm still for redeveloping Gowanus, a lot of potential to be had.

chris08876 Mar 8, 2019 5:29 AM

You would be able to afford "affordable units" as they are dirt cheap and go by income, but you'd have to do the lottery for such a unit. The issue is that the odds of getting one are very very low.

9 Dekalb has affordable units, but the odds of getting one suck.

If you were to look at the prices per month in rent, for some of those units at newely built, luxury towers in Manhattan, you'd vomit. We are talking prices that folks would kill for... to the point where towers that normally have rents that are 6-10k+ month, can have units with less than $1500/mo in rent. That is a steal! Dirt cheap!

chris08876 Mar 8, 2019 5:37 AM


Originally Posted by BBMW (Post 8493107)
How about draining it filling it in, and developing the new land. It's not going to be used as a commercial waterway. And it would be a lot easier to do the pollution remediation dry.

I'd imagine that would skyrocket costs. Would also complicate the engineering due to soil composition/characteristics relative to the surroundings.

But its interesting that the locals want more affordable housing, but some complain about 20-30+ floor towers. Can't win! Ya want more housing, but than when the towers are large enough to make a profit, while providing enough units (market/affordable), they complain. :shrug:

NYguy Mar 12, 2019 3:10 PM

Video Link

Heights of Potential Development Concern Some in Gowanus


By Sadef Ali Kully
March 4, 2019


More than a month after the release of its Gowanus rezoning proposal, the Department of City Planning presented the framework Thursday to a meeting convened by Brooklyn Community Board 6, where residents and stakeholders questioned city agencies over the details of the rezoning plan.

“We are talking about specifically what the zoning can do, stuff that rezoning can’t do and who we are thinking about and also the next steps,” DCP Project Manager Jonathan Keller said as he opened the meeting.

Some resident’s questions focused on what the rezoning wouldn’t do—at least, not as currently presented. Gowanus Neighborhood Coalition for Justice member Karen Blondel asked about the city’s commitments to NYCHA, such as the development of the Gowanus community center, transferring development rights to fund repair at NYCHA and the role of NYCHA properties and residents in reducing polluted overflows into the canal..

Keller said transferring development rights to fund repair at NYCHA was not part of the plan but said DCP would look into that suggestion. He also explained the rezoning proposal was not “set in stone” and additional commitments could become part of the plan further into the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP).

But the concern that took up the most questions from residents was something City Planning does want to do: Boost allowable building heights.

Along the Canal corridor the city has proposed zoning to create a mix of uses from housing to commercial, artist and maker spaces surrounded by green areas and offering access to the waterfront. The proposed residential zoning, R7-2, would allow for buildings to reach 6 to 8 stories and the proposed manufacturing zoning, M1-3, is for light manufacturing buildings that could reach up to six stories— both height limits depend on the floor area ratio, which is the relationship between a building’s bulk and its lot size.

DCP’s senior urban designer in Brooklyn, Sagi Golan, said the guiding principle for the proposed development along the Gowanus Canal was setting back the buildings away from the waterfront. He said the idea was to keep the buildings low but also give room for flexibility for various buildings forms and courtyards. During the presentation, he broke up the Canal in three parts: upper canal which is surrounded by narrower streets such as Bond and Nevins, mid-canal which is larger and allows for more open space and lower canal is where the city-owned site Public Place is located and has even more room for affordable housing and public space.

“If you go up in one location you will run out of floor area and you will have to drop down. That is the relationship between floor area and envelope. Any additional height has to be located in specific space on the block so that plenty of air and space get the the courtyard as well,” said Golan.

Golan said that, generally, along Bond Street buildings would be allowed to reach between 5 and 6 stories, while most of the Canal corridor buildings will be able to reach 6 stories tall and those along Nevins Street buildings could go up to 8 stories. He admitted that in some cases buildings would be able to reach 22 stories but those buildings would be rare, “Yes [developers] can go up to 22 stories but doesn’t happen on all blocks or everywhere. If [developers] go up [they] have to down in other locations.”

But Gowanus resident and author Debbie Stoller described the waterfront design as “mullets—shorter buildings in the front and nightmare towers in the back.” She believes the community made clear during the city’s engagement process that 14-stories was the top height acceptable to residents, but developers were unhappy with that limit. Stoller is unsympathetic to the builders because she thinks developers will be rewarded sufficiently by tax breaks and other incentives. “The height came up in all the meetings, so I want to know, what happened? Who sold out the neighborhood? Why is it that what the community decides—developers can override?”

Keller said building up was part of the deal with keeping the buildings lower at the base near the canal.

Other community members did not object to higher buildings as long as it meant that affordable housing would come into the neighborhood.

Bond Street resident and artist Clarina Bezzola, however, said she wanted to know exactly how she would affected because she is the last home on Bond Street, near the beginning of the Industrial Business Zone, which is not part of the rezoning. “I am the last house and I am touching that open field” she said, referring to empty lot next to her home. “What is going to be my reality? Are we going to have a six-story wall next to us? We have these setbacks and we have backyards. So if the buildings next to us are going to have a courtyard, are they gonna put a big wall for privacy and we are going lose all our light and air?”

The draft Gowanus rezoning proposal spans an estimated 80 blocks bounded by Bond Street to the west, Baltic Street to the north, 4th Avenue to the east from Pacific Street to 15th Street and cuts off near Hamilton Avenue in the South in the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Business Zone. It is part of the de Blasio administration housing plan to create and preserve 300,000 affordable housing units, partly through rezoning up to 15 neighborhoods across the city.

In the upland area from Bond to Nevins streets and blocks surrounding parts 3rd Avenue near the Gowanus Canal, the city proposes a mixed-use zoning of medium- to light manufacturing and residential buildings, “We are proposing to pair residential districts with those [new manufacturing districts] to help strengthen the mixed use character—the live, work nature of the neighborhood,” Keller said.

....DCP says its waterfront access plan will take a closer look at existing requirements for public access and identify specific locations for required public walkways along the Canal, upland connections, supplemental public access areas and visual corridors.


BBMW Mar 18, 2019 8:45 PM

Yes, but how much would several acres of new Brooklyn be worth?

That that's what always happens. You would think that people who live in what should be called Skyscrapers National Park would be able to deal with tall buildings. Lots of worthless NIMBYs and SJWs in NYC.


Originally Posted by chris08876 (Post 8498896)
I'd imagine that would skyrocket costs. Would also complicate the engineering due to soil composition/characteristics relative to the surroundings.

But its interesting that the locals want more affordable housing, but some complain about 20-30+ floor towers. Can't win! Ya want more housing, but than when the towers are large enough to make a profit, while providing enough units (market/affordable), they complain. :shrug:

Zerton Mar 19, 2019 4:39 PM

These Nimbys are crazy. An unused old industrial canal is being transformed into a vibrant new neighborhood and they still complain about the height of what look to be normal midrise-sized buildings.

mrnyc Mar 19, 2019 5:14 PM

i hope these developments will give very serious thought to storm surges, which absolutely will happen, because just the idea of highly polluted and poisonous gowanus flooding living areas built right up on it is disgusting enough.

that and they better charge high insurance rates because as a taxpayer i dont want to have to pay later for these reckless developers and nitwit move in rich kid residents lifestyle choices.

BBMW Mar 23, 2019 7:04 PM

They could put flood gates on the canal pretty easily.


Originally Posted by mrnyc (Post 8511025)
i hope these developments will give very serious thought to storm surges, which absolutely will happen, because just the idea of highly polluted and poisonous gowanus flooding living areas built right up on it is disgusting enough.

that and they better charge high insurance rates because as a taxpayer i dont want to have to pay later for these reckless developers and nitwit move in rich kid residents lifestyle choices.

peteybrooklyn1959 Mar 28, 2019 5:51 PM

Gowanus development must move forward
FROM TODAY'S NY CURBED....In my humble opinion, this development must see the light of day. A great opportunity to help solve the housing crisis in NYC and a golden opportunity to clean up a neighborhood. In "NOT" MY HUMBLE OPINION...NIMBYS NOT INVITED !!!!

NYguy Apr 1, 2019 11:04 PM


Written by Erin DeGregorio
March 31, 2019


As conversations about the impending Gowanus upzoning and Superfund cleanup continue, ideas are beginning to form about how the Gowanus Canal’s shorelines can be better utilized in the Waterfront Access Plan. The Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club provided some suggestions during their presentation to CB6’s Economic/Waterfront/Community Development & Housing Committee on March 18.

“Our waterfront is unique in the sense that it’s a canal way – not a river way with large esplanades, bike paths and highways,” said Dredgers’ Treasurer Owen Foote, who is also an urban planner and architect.

To prevent underused amenity space along the shoreline, the Dredgers suggested having cultural and active passageways with, for example, rock climbing walls and mixed-use paths inclusive to slow-paced biking. Additionally, integrated waterfront service facilities (i.e. boathouses, barge docks, floating walkways) and integrated services offering food, marine supplies or boat storage could be in use nearly year-round.

“[This] is trying to find a way to prevent the shoreline from just being a long row of glass and brick that rises up vertically from the path,” said Brad Vogel, the Dredgers’ captain. “You want variety. Otherwise it’s going to seem boring … and no one’s going to find this to be a unique place that they want to go to.”

Gowanus residents demand rezoning wait until after canal cleanup
Residents call city unprepared, DEP continues push for tunnel remediation option

March 27, 2019
Scott Enman


Gowanus residents allege that two city agencies tasked with overseeing the neighborhood’s rezoning and canal cleanup are unprepared and have left them in the dark.

Tensions boiled over on Tuesday at the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group’s monthly gathering with employees of the city’s Department of Environmental Protection and Department of City Planning.

“It was a revealing meeting,” Joseph Alexiou, a journalist, historian and author of “Gowanus: Brooklyn’s Curious Canal,” told the Brooklyn Eagle. “You could see just how little communication seems to happen. The community is not totally in touch with the city, and the city is not in touch with each other.

“There’s a missing tier of leadership here. The community was trying to identity that person, and they couldn’t do it. The city was being defensive, dismissive and not answering the questions. People in the audience are armed with a lot of information, but they don’t seem to respect that.”

DEP and DCP were invited to answer more than 20 questions that were submitted in January, but residents said virtually none of the inquiries were answered.

“I was hoping that DEP and DCP would have a more structured joint presentation, answering the questions the CAG had presented,” Gowanus resident Brad Vogel told the Eagle. “Even with both city agencies — and the Environmental Protection Agency — in the room, it felt like we weren’t getting clear answers.”

Residents wanted to know if the proposed Gowanus rezoning would create more sewage overflow that would endanger the cleaned-up canal; what agency or entity would police new developments along the waterway; and how that entity or group of entities will do so.

Residents also wanted someone to hold accountable if something goes wrong. “The community needs concrete answers to these questions,” Vogel said.

But DEP, undeterred by the residents’ complaints, said it appreciated the lively discussion and stressed that the agency is still in the early stages of the canal cleanup.

“New Yorkers all agree that we have the best drinking water around, but beyond that topic we all love to argue — and we appreciated the broad range of perspectives voiced at the Gowanus CAG meeting,” Ted Timbers, communications director of DEP, told the Eagle.

“We made clear we’re early in the process of understanding future impacts and are committed to an ongoing dialogue. If the CAG’s ultimate goal is to clean up the canal — then there’s no debate — DEP’s proposed tunnel alternative further reduces CSOs, enables scalability for increased population growth and creates less disruption during construction.”

Residents also pressed to know why the Gowanus rezoning couldn’t be postponed until after the canal was fully clean.

“DEP dismissively says they will look into things, but it sounds empty,” Alexiou said. “If a regular New Yorker or any outsider comes in and says, ‘Wait, you’re going to build these big buildings here before the cleanup is finished?’ They say that’s insane.”

Until an Environmental Impact Statement is completed for the rezoning, however, it will be unlikely that either agency can address how increased density will affect the amount of waste in the neighborhood.

Gowanus Canal's sewage-tank costs climb into the billions: report

March 26, 2019


The price of two sewage retention tanks the city will construct as part of the effort to clean up Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal has jumped more than 15 times beyond initial estimates.

The Brooklyn Eagle reported that the price for the two tanks has grown from a projected $78 million to $1.2 billion—double the estimated cost of the entire Superfund cleanup.

An official with the Environmental Protection Agency told the Eagle that the price has grown because the city plans to build the tanks on private land acquired through eminent domain, rather than on the city-owned property nearby recommended by the EPA. The city countered that the federal estimate was too conservative and did not take into account the preservation of the historic Gowanus Station Building.

The two tanks—one 8 million gallons, the other 4 million gallons—would divert sewage and stormwater away from the canal. But the city has proposed an alternative plan to the EPA: a tunnel that could store up to 16 million gallons of sewage and stormwater overflow.

"DEP’s proposed tunnel alternative would include more storage, be scalable to accommodate increased population growth and cause less disruption during construction – clearly a much bigger bang for New Yorkers’ buck," a spokesperson said.

All times are GMT. The time now is 7:47 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.