Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Speedy Demolition, Slow Rezoning in Gowanus

Gowanus Demo One

The first of the new wave of demolitions in Gowanus has happened so quickly that if you had blinked, you might have missed the transition phase from building to pile of rubble near the canal. The building that speaks volumes about the future of Gowanus was located at 137 2nd Street (AKA 64 1st Street). It ran the width of the block, through to First Street. Its demise is interesting because the building sat on land on which the Toll Brothers want to build their mixed-use Gowanus Village. (There are no records showing the property has changed hands, however.)

The demolition takes place against the background of an upcoming zoning and planning process that Purnima Kapur, head of the Brooklyn office of the Department of City Planning, says will be neither simple nor quick. (A description that is certain to be like the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard to developers like the Toll Brothers and Shaya Boymelgreen, both of whom need rezoning to build their residential developments.)

There are many different opinions within Gowanus itself in terms of the direction of the rezoning and planning. The Gowanus Canal Community Development Corporation has produced a plan for the neighborhood envisioning Northern and Southern Zones, with housing concentrated in the north zone and green industry in the south. The Planning Department is looking at Gowanus as five zones, with existing housing concentrated in east of the canal between 3rd Street and Sackett Street. Discussion, at this early stage, has been fairly low-key, particularly for Gowanus, where there are many opinions within the community and a divide between groups that want to preserve industrial uses and those that want to see more residential development. Meantime, some demolition is clearly underway.

Gowanus Demo Two

Related Post:
Gowanus #2: The Demolition Man Cometh to 2nd Street

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