Gowanus Green: Bells, Whistles, and Rain Gardens

The preliminary site plan for Gowanus Green, the development that a consortium led by Hudson Companies will build next to the canal, is shown above, and it includes plenty of interesting amenities. The developers intend to have retail space in the ground floor of the buildings fronting Smith Street, a bar and restaurant near 5th Street and the canal, a bike shop on the ground floor of one of the Smith Street buildings, a daycare, a wellness center, an amphitheater, a playground, and a rain garden. The rain garden “incorporates some of the storm water features we’re using and is supposed to be an interpretative educational feature that draws people in from the playground,” according to Michael Wadman, a principal for Hudson Affordable Housing. The wellness center, meanwhile, will probably have things like doctors’ offices and acupuncturists, says Wadman, that will be partially geared toward the senior population that will live in some of the affordable units set aside for them in the development. Here’s a full breakdown of the number of units and height of the buildings currently being planned:

Building A: Low-income rental with 94 units; 6-story base with a setback to 8 stories.
Building B: Mixed-income condo with 47 units; 6-story base with a setback to 8 stories.
Building C: Low-income rental with 136 units; 6-story base with two setbacks to 10 stories.
Building D: Mixed-income rental with 149 units; 8-story base with two setbacks to 12 stories.
Building E: Mixed-income co-op with 150 units; 6-story base with three setbacks to 12 stories.
Building F: Mixed income co-op with 61 units; 8-story base with setbacks to 12 stories.
Building G: Mixed-income condo with 90 units; 6-story base with three setbacks to 12 stories.
Building H: Mixed-income condo with 45 units; 6-story base with a setback to 8 stories.
Building I: 3-story community facility with space for the Gowanus Dredgers.

Density is concentrated near the canal, which meshes with City Planning’s draft framework for rezoning the area, says Wadman. Timing-wise, what needs to happen first is the remediation of the property, which is being spearheaded by National Grid. The city is hoping that clean-up begins this year and is completed sometime in 2010, “which would allow us to get all our approvals in order and go through ULURP,” says Wadman. The total budget for the project is $285 million, and the 70 percent of it that has affordable components will receive subsidies. Wadman says that right now the plan is to build in two phases, with the buildings fronting Smith and 5th streets, which will primarily be the low-income housing, completed first.
Hudson Companies Chosen to Develop Public Place Site [Brownstoner]
Renderings of the Related and Hudson Public Place Plans [Brownstoner] GMAP
Vying Public Place Plans Get an Airing [Brownstoner]
Gowanus Roundup: Public Pl. Bids Whittled, Builders Bullish [Brownstoner]

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  • For years, we have been snarkily remarking, as we cross the bridge over Gowanus, “Ah…the Venice of the North!” Well, they certainly are trying. I hope, though, that the “rain garden” won’t be recycling water from the canal…

  • I like the big bike shop. All the bike shops in the northern section of Brooklyn really suck – often times horribly. Has anyone been to the new Trek store on McDonald Ave at Avenue P? Awesome, totally awesome.

    I will be very happy if this place opens.

  • Building the low income part FIRST?! Now that’s a change from the normal developer timeline!

    I hope this works out but I’m not so sure it will … Whole Foods inaction has me down on the whole Gowanus redev story.

  • The color of the canal in the rendering is making me laugh.

  • I know! They used “swimming pool water” clip art for the canal.

    I would have gone with a reddish green with some floatables and “fume” lines.

  • Don’t think I would pay full freight when I knew that 70% of my neighbors (many undeservedly) got a nice subsidy.

    And what happens when your income goes from $75,000 to $250,000. Do you have to pay back the subdisy?


  • Prediction:

    Build low income component, market-rate never gets built (no one will finance), 5 years pass…..residents then wakeup to the fact that they are living next-to and on top of hazardous materials.

    Whether related or no, residents claim every health ailment is b/c of canal, new media picks it up, City (and eveyone else possible)is sued…residents claims that no one cared b/c it is ‘poor’ people, or worse it is racial issue or ‘on purpose’ (Charles Barron is BPP) and as always the city settles…cost taxpayers millions.

    The site makes an excellent and much needed concrete plant – leave it as such, it will be far far far cheaper in the long run

  • From the Plan Document:

    “…we will build the low income component first. If no cancer clusters develop in two to three years, we will proceed with the market rate component of the Plan.”

    Just kidding … sort of.

  • TIme frame for all this? 2025?

  • This may be one of those projects where some of the owners’ families may have to live there–and actually be seen there– to show potential buyers that it’s truly safe for the kiddies and not a love canal waiting to happen

    Otherwise, digging their vision, and communitymindedness.

  • “The total budget for the project is $285 million”

    Please. That isn’t even enough to clean up the area sufficiently for habitation.

  • i used to live in PS near gowanus so i know the area well, and frankly if gowanus and AY and 4th ave all get developed, P Slopers are going to feel very crowded and very stuck. it’s one thing to feel crowded in Manhattan, but NEAR your job, and feel crowded and NOT NEAR your job.

    i think you’ll see Williamsburg, Dumbo and Downtown Brooklyn become really desirable. walking back and forth over the bridges makes one feel not cramped and alive.

  • This would be fantastic if built. And that’s a pretty big if, given AY’s slide into a hold state.

    But it does beg the question as to why AY could not have been built out by developers like Hudson or Toll in a more contextual way. If they feel they can build mixed-use, mid-rise well-planed developments, why did the MTA give Ratner the billions to do so much worse?

  • Isn’t the Boathouse/Community Center right on top of the Bond Street CSO sewage outlet?