Preservationists: Don’t Shrink Gowanus Landmark’s Lot

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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

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