Preservationists: Don’t Shrink Gowanus Landmark’s Lot


Yesterday the Landmarks Preservation Commission held a hearing regarding the application to reduce the lot size of the landmark Coignet Stone Company Building on 3rd Street and 3rd Avenue. The proposal is to reduce the size of the lot from approximately 125 feet to 55 feet on the 3rd Avenue side, and from 55 feet to 40 feet on the 3rd Street side, a measure that would allow more room for the construction of the planned Whole Foods. Seven people testified about the proposal, and all of them opposed the reduction of the lot. Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus (FROGG), the Pratt Institute for Gowanus Studio, and the HDC also submitted written opposition. HDC’s testimony was representative: “It is troublesome that after years of planning by Whole Foods, the company is now only dealing with the fact that it owns a designated site and is asking the landmark to bear the brunt of the project. As shown in renderings, plans and elevations… the Coignet Building would be engulfed by new structures, while the other half of the block would be a parking lot.” Meanwhile, Marty Markowitz submitted the only testimony that wasn’t completely opposed to the plans: “From the outset, I found it acceptable for the Whole Foods Market to abut the Coignet Building. However, should LPC find it appropriate to retain some of the existing yards as nominal side yards to serve as a buffer between the two properties, I certainly would not have a concern with designating such space… so long as this would not compromise construction of the Whole Foods site.” The LPC did not take a final vote on the proposal. It hasn’t been a great few weeks for Whole Foods: There was no resolution in the BSA hearing last week concerning the grocer’s application to build a bigger store than zoning allows.
LPC Hearing on Reduction of Gowanus Building’s Lot [Brownstoner] GMAP

19 Comment

  • Give this business a break ! They are in over $40,000,000, are cleaning up very dirty ground and are much needed in Gowanus. They will also restore Coignet, which no one else has done anything about for decades.

  • it’s not a bad thing to put Whole Food’s feet to the fire. They have a very large lot. Why do they want to put the squeeze on the small landmark? Hopefully the Landmarks Commission will ask for s little more buffer space between the two buildings.

    • imo, laying over the item was done to give LPC time to agree to/negotiate how much of a buffer is acceptable.

      As I have written before, it is standard for the BSA to ask for additional information after a first hearing, some times several times over, befoe a final decision is made.

  • I cant believe it but it looks like my 2007 prediction is again the odds on favorite:

    Gowanus Whole Foods – Never going to happen.

    Just will prove that there is one thing stronger than the toxic sludge found in the Canal – NIMBYism

  • one gets the feeling that fsrq would have been happy in Iraq under Saddam Hussein.
    He wants a tyrant to tell the people what to do and not a peep out of them.

  • That ‘landmarked’ building is a flippin eye-sore; has been for years… If Whole Foods goes away- it’ll be a forever eyesore… lay off or tear that piece of garbage down.

  • I couldn’t agree more Ingrasir. Seems like as long as its got some sort of classical detail knuckleheads will line up to preserve it no matter how ill proportioned and poorly detailed it is. The significance of this building was more historic than architectural. It was intended as a show piece for the capabilities of cast concrete not as a piece of architecture.
    Whether it is worth saving or not has been decided though so lets move on and go about saving it then. However, to state that the integrity of this building requires that the lot size be preserved as well is absurd. As one can see from the picture above there were buildings abutting this structure in the past so why not the future?

  • I couldn’t agree more Ingrasir. Seems like as long as its got some sort of classical detail knuckleheads will line up to preserve it no matter how ill proportioned and poorly detailed it is. The significance of this building was more historic than architectural. It was intended as a show piece for the capabilities of cast concrete not as a piece of architecture.
    Whether it is worth saving or not has been decided though so lets move on and go about saving it then. However, to state that the integrity of this building requires that the lot size be preserved as well is absurd. As one can see from the picture above there were buildings abutting this structure in the past so why not the future?

  • Someone tell me why a natural, organic, health food supermarket is opening on top of (and imbedded into) a Superfund site again?

    And then, someone tell me why Whole Foods is surprised it’s a complicated opening?

    C:

  • I am all for preserving this building. I have always loved it. However, the lot has been an eyesore for decades.I have no issue with reducing the lot size. Honestly, I’m not that excited about WF coming to the site – I shop there as little as possible. But the fact that they took on this blighted site gives them props in my book. Enough squabbling. I’d like to see something happen before another 2 decades elapse!

  • are the landmarks people nuts, this ugly little structure has been decaying for decades and they are worried about a few feet of land, you gotta be kidding. What kind of idiots do we have in our City.
    Knock the ugly thing down and call it a day, or fix it up already.

  • I saw an acquaintance last night who works at the Landmarks Commission they said “oh we never read Brownstoner” I asked why and they said ” it is so hostile towards us”
    LOL!

  • wow – Marty Markowitz as the voice of reason.

  • fsrq; What “NIMBYism?” This is a project that is WANTED in our backyards; by Park Slopers, Carroll Gardeners, developers, and politicians. It comes down to Whole Foods delaying until they can get a better deal and a few more breaks from the government (especially in dealing with their brownfield.) And who can blame them? They are a business and they have to look at the bottom line.

  • Whole Foods is asking LPC to reduce the landmark lot size so that they won’t have to show how hideous their store will look saddled up next to the Coignet building.

    If Whole Foods gets the lot reduction of the Landmarks site, then LPC will forfeit say about the how appropriate, or in-appropriate the proposed structure is as it relation to the Coignet. Whole Foods won’t even have to show LPC what this will look like under any type of public review. Granting this would also definitely send the signal that some landmarks just are not as important–that a designation of a site specific building like the Coignet doesn’t deserve the same consideration given a more ordinary buildings located in a landmark district.