It is impossible to overlook the changing face of Brooklyn. As if overnight, a crop of high rises has sprouted along Flatbush Avenue. Downtown Brooklyn suddenly boasts a skyline that puts many American cities to shame, and the development of new residential and mixed-use properties is not slowing down. As the building boom continues, real estate speculation pushes deeper into the borough. Today, one would be hard pressed to find an area garnering more interest than our very own Gowanus.
Tucked between the affluent, in-demand brownstone streets of Park Slope and Carroll Gardens, the manufacturing-zoned area surrounding the Gowanus Canal is a potential goldmine for builders.
Whispers of a Gowanus rezoning have been heard for almost a decade. In 2008, the New York City Department of City Planning, under the stewardship of the Bloomberg administration, commissioned a series of cultural and environmental assessments to begin the Gowanus Canal Corridor Rezoning Project. This project would lift several plots of land abutting the Gowanus Canal from their current M-1 industrial zoning to allow for residential development.
The 2010 designation of the Gowanus Canal as a Superfund site stymied the city’s rezoning plan, but with the high stakes and big money involved, it did not stop the hopeful prospecting in the area.
Some of New York’s largest and most powerful real estate players now have skin in the Gowanus game. Alloy Development, Property Markets Group, Lightstone Group, Two Trees Management, Kushner Companies, Atlantic Realty Development, and Hudson Companies have collectively spent over $250 million snatching up Gowanus properties that were zoned for garages and industrial use.
There is, of course, an element of risk for those looking to delve into the Gowanus frenzy. Alloy Development’s properties at 234 Bond Street and 242 Nevins Street might be seized, under eminent domain, to install a sewage tank that would aid in the Gowanus Canal clean up. Is this very likely? No one knows.
It’s not all doom and gloom. Lightstone Group’s Gowanus acquisition is now 365 Bond Street; a 70% leased, 430-unit luxury rental building with studios starting at $2500 per month. Construction is underway at adjacent 363 Bond Street, which Atlantic Realty Development acquired in 2015 for a cool $75 million (along with plans for a 12-story, 268-unit rental building).
Surely the risk must be worth the reward. How else can we explain the involvement of some of the biggest names and power brokers in real estate? With Mayor de Blasio’s self-imposed pressure to build more affordable housing, it seems that rezoning along the Gowanus is all but inevitable.
Want to get in on the fun? Check out our listing at 233-239 Nevins Street.
Follow these links to some great stories about the history, science, business, and future of the Gowanus Canal:
Gowanus Canal Superfund Timeline, 2013
Gowanus Canal Corridor, Columbia University, 2008
Gowanus Canal Corridor Rezoning Study, City of New York Dept. of City Planning, 2008
Gowanus Canal Corridor Rezoning Project Phase 1A Cultural Resource Assessment, City of New York Dept. of City Planning, 2009