DNAinfo has a few more details on the story we broke yesterday about the huge development slated for the corner of 4th Avenue and 11th Street. Unsurprisingly, it will be a residential high rise, according to one of the homeowners whose house is one of five, above, slated to be demolished to make way for the build. But JBS Project Management, which is managing the project, had no comment. Interestingly, it seems the developer picked up the large corner lot first, then approached each homeowner to sell. DNAinfo profiles one holdout, 90-year-old Lillian Striano, who initially didn’t want to leave her home of 43 years, until her son convinced her she wouldn’t want to live next door to all the construction noise and dirt. As we reported yesterday, most of the homeowners got just under a million for each of their properties, except for 239 11th Street, which cost the developers $2,500,000. Striano, whose sale has not yet hit public records, said she can’t afford to buy another property in the area and is moving to Staten Island.
90-Year-Old Widow Last to Move out at 4th Avenue Development Site [DNAinfo]
Something huge is brewing on the west side of 4th Avenue between 10th and 11th streets. A few tipsters wrote in to say that the structure once housing Cafe 454 was demolished (the cafe closed in late February) and it turns out demolition is in store for all the buildings, residential and commercial, on that corner. The Cafe 454 building is actually on the same lot as the residential building on the corner, 243 11th Street. The development group Fourth Eleventh Development, LLC picked up the lot this December for $5,053,000. The sale also included the old Urban Spaces storefront at 472 4th Avenue and the laundromat at 470 4th Avenue. The DOB approved demo permits for those two commercial buildings as well. What’s surprising is that five more townhouses along 11th Street will be demolished. The DOB approved demo permits for 241 11th Street (which cost the developers $999,000), for 239 11th Street ($2,500,000), for 237 11th Street ($999,000), for 235 11th Street (which shows no recent sale), and 233 11th Street (also $999,000). We also hear that at least three of those townhouses appear to be already vacant. You can click through to see an outline of the lot, and of all the townhouses set to be demolished. Information behind the development LLC is scarce and they have not filed any new building permits yet, leaving the scale of the new development unknown. There’s about 120 feet of frontage on 4th Avenue and a little more than 100 feet of frontage along 11th Street. The current buildings are built up to a floor area ratio of around 1; the current zoning allows a building with a FAR as large as 6. Have any details on this big, soon-to-be-empty lot? Send them to the tipline… (more…)
There’s a new three-story building on Baltic Street between Bond and Nevins streets. According to the DOB permit, the new structure will have about 9,400 square feet of space and be devoted to light manufacturing. This is interesting if for no other reason than it’s rare to see someone building a new commercial building in this part of town these days. As far as we can tell, most longtime landowners around here — and farther in Crown Heights, for example — are sitting around waiting to cash in for a residential rezoning. GMAP
Planned upgrades to a Gowanus Canal sewage pumping station are still on track, despite damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, The New York Times reported. Mayor Bloomberg announced changes to the project at a press conference yesterday. The pumping station redirects sewage from the Gowanus Canal into a sewage treatment center; it was out for about 33 hours after the hurricane cut power to the station, during which time about 13 million gallons of raw sewage were released into the canal. The City was already well into a three-year project to upgrade the station to decrease the amount of sewage going into the canal, partly by increasing the amount of clean water it contains, and has now amended the project to prevent the discharge of raw sewage into the canal in future storms by raising the elevation of mechanical equipment above the flood area, Bloomberg said. It is also building a wall and floodgates. While the cost of the project has increased, the whole thing is still on track to finish up this year.
Upgrades on Schedule for Gowanus Pumping Station Despite Hurricane [NY Times]
When the Carroll Street Bridge opened in 1889, horse-drawn wagons traveled over its boards to visit local farms, wrote the Times. Its cobblestone approaches are still intact, as is an old sign that says “Any Person Driving over this Bridge Faster than a Walk will be Subject to a Penalty of Five Dollars For Each Offence.” It is one of only four retractile bridges in the U.S., and as reported, is closed for a few months while undergoing repairs. Workers are restoring the worn and rotted wooden deck; resetting the cobblestones; and repairing the beams, bulkheads, and electrical components that open the bridge. It should reopen at the end of the summer.
Antique Bridge Closed to Traffic While It’s Open for Repairs [NY Times]
Here’s a floor-through apartment at 398 Bond Street, the glassy Gowanus building that sold for $3 million back in 2011. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit is pretty big: 1,000 square feet with a 500-square-foot private deck. The finishes are new and the windows are from floor to ceiling. The rent is a hefty $5,000 a month. Think they’ll get it?
398 Bond Street [Warren Lewis] GMAP P*Shark
Council members local pols Brad Lander, Nydia Velazquez and Velmanette Montgomery wrote a letter to City Hall in light of the most recent Gowanus flooding, asking for the city to consider the adverse hydrologic impacts on properties resulting from regrading large development sites within flood hazards areas. Of course, they specifically mention the proposed 700-unit, 12-story development for the Lightstone site, where the developers plan to regrade the site by raising it by two feet at 1st Street. The developers are regrading because of new building standards set after Hurricane Sandy. But, because the Gowanus Canal is a long, narrow tidal waterway lined by buildings, the neighbors are worried that regrading will actually cause floodwaters to be pushed out to more properties, as well as impede drainage from properties further inland. The letter asks if there will be any investigation into the effects of regrading around the Gowanus Canal to come up with a development approach specific to that waterway. As Pardon Me for Asking, which printed the letter in full, said, “it is encouraging that our Electeds recognize the hydrological impact to surrounding areas if developers like Lightstone are allow[ed] to regrade the Gowanus area. We need a new hydrological study before any new development moves forward.”
Politicians Ask City to Evaluate Hydrologic Impact of Large Elevated Sites [PMFA]
Photo via Storify
There is a new wrinkle to the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to put massive storage tanks under the Thomas Greene Playground and Douglass Degraw Pool in Gowanus. Not only are neighbors up in arms but the City agrees. The agency wants to install the 8-million-gallon tanks to handle the massive sewage overflow that can run into the Gowanus canal following a heavy rain — as it infamously did when it was caught on video in 2010. The overflow would then be pumped to treatment plants, reducing the wastewater flow into the canal by as much as 78 percent. Residents are against the plan because of the possible lengthy closure of the pool and park and concern about little ones cavorting over massive storage tanks full of raw sewage. But, according to The Brooklyn Paper, the City contends that raw sewage isn’t the canal’s main problem (that is one polluted site when raw sewage isn’t the main problem). (more…)
The Gowanus Print Lab is kicking off its summer studio workshops soon! They are hosting a series of week-long workshops for high school students starting July 8th, although you only have until June 1st to register. The courses include screen printing, digital photography, indie filmmaking, textile design and lots more. Check them all out here. The idea is to enrich the high school students as well as give them a taste of working in a professional environment. Classes range from $300 to $550 for the week.
All the rain today brought flooding into Gowanus and parts of the Slope. Weather.com posted photos of severe flooding at Fourth Avenue and Carroll Street (pictured above) and 9th Street between 2nd and Smith. South Slope News nabbed photos of crazy flooding on 4th Avenue between President and Garfield and minor flooding along 7th Avenue. What’s the situation over in Gowanus now, since the rain’s calmed down a bit?
Twitter photo via Weather.com
Summer’s almost here! Last week Gowanus restaurant The Pines debuted its backyard space with its own chef’s menu and seating for 30 people, plus standing room for about 50 to 60 more. The restaurant will also use the space for private parties and special events. The Pines (from the same owners at Littleneck) serves New American food at 284 3rd Avenue, between President and Carroll streets. GMAP
It looks like Whole Foods will not buy the historic Coignet stone building on the corner of 3rd Avenue and 3rd Street after all. The New York Daily News reports that a number of national retailers, local stores and nonprofits are eyeing the property, which hit the market this January. The 140-year-old year old landmark is asking $3 million. Whole Foods is still under agreement to restore the exterior of the rundown building and plans to finish the window and façade repairs after the store has opened, hopefully this fall. They have finished work on the roof. For good measure, the Daily News gets a comment from an upset resident who does not think retail space is appropriate “at the foot of a toxic waterway.” Whole Foods has agreed to build the store 8 feet above the 100-year flood plain.
Historic Coignet Building Attracting Interest From Retailers [NY Daily News]
3rd Avenue’s Coignet Stone Company Building up for Sale [Brownstoner]
Photo via PMFA
This month the urban design advocacy group Gowanus by Design will showcase all the winners of its Water Works Competition, along with other selected entries, at The Old American Can Factory Gallery. The contest tackled the topic of community development within the context of a toxic waterway. More than 250 entries were submitted from over 20 countries. The jury looked at issues like architectural design, community programming, and urban ecology before selecting nine winners, which were announced in February. The opening reception is Wednesday, May 22, from 6:30 to 9 pm. Check out all the details here.
The New York Times yesterday took a look at the controversy over just how to rid the Gowanus Canal of its toxic sludge. If you’ve been following along, none of this will be news to you, but in brief: One group opposes the plan to shut down the Double D swimming pool to locate an overflow tank underneath it, while others don’t want the toxic sludge processed in Red Hook or encased in cement and used as landfill in Red Hook. The paper didn’t mention a new group that has formed to champion local processing on the grounds that it might bring jobs to Red Hook. In any case, the EPA has repeatedly said it’s open to shipping the toxic sludge out of state for processing, a more expensive remedy.
Neighbors Resist a Plan to Clean a Toxic Canal [NY Times]
The new Gowanus rental building at 202 8th Street hit the market with some very bold prices in February: $8,500 a month for a three-bedroom, $3,475 for a studio, and $2,950 for a one-bedroom. Three months later, the 51-unit development is 60 percent leased. The latest unit pulled off the market was a one-bedroom that rented for $4,350. According to a rep for Aptsandlofts.com, which is leasing out the building, there’s been a strong turnout of interested renters, and some of the most expensive one-bedrooms were snapped up first. According to Streeteasy, that $8,500 three-bedroom is still up for grabs. The interiors appear to have some very high end finishes, including red lacquer Italian kitchen cabinets, marble countertops, and Liebherr and Bosch appliances. “The kitchens here bring nouveau bistro design to all your artisanal feasts,” reads the copy. The building also features a private landscaped courtyard, a furnished roof deck, a gym and part-time doorman. Who’s been inside and checked it out… is it worth the hype?
202 8th Street Rental Units Now Live [Brownstoner] GMAP
Remember the bizarre-seeming proposal by cement manufacturer John Quadrozzi to encase poisonous sludge from the Gowanus Canal in lumps of concrete and then use this as landfill to expand the size of one of his Red Hook shipping docks? Well, this idea was adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency as part of its official plan to clean up the Gowanus Canal, and now the proposal is pitting residents of different neighborhoods against each other, Gothamist reported. “The Gowanus Canal runs through Carroll Gardens,” shouted third-generation Red Hook resident Brian Melton at a recent EPA meeting at the South Brooklyn Community High School. “Put the stuff there!” A group called NoToxicRedHook has formed to fight the Red Hook portion of the EPA’s plan. ”We do not want toxic wastewater processed in our neighborhood,” said group co-founder Carly Yates. Meanwhile, supporter Marlene Donnelly, an environmental activist who owns a house near the canal in Carroll Gardens, said she believes the opposition to the Red Hook part of the cleanup plan is “an orchestrated campaign to discredit the Superfund” by developers, the City, and National Grid. A resident of Red Hook said she thought the plan to remove toxic chemicals from wealthier areas and put them in Red Hook had a “race aspect.”
Environmental Racism? Toxic Gowanus Sludge Is Heading for Red Hook [Gothamist]
Photo by wallyg
Community Board 6 unanimously approved the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed plan to clean up the Gowanus Canal. There were some conditions and caveats, however. Some of the highlights: They asked the City, state, and feds to commit to a certain standard of water quality, to prevent a contaminant known as Nonaqueous Phase Liquid (NAPL) from seeping into the canal, and to make “responsible parties,” not homeowners, pay for bulkhead upkeep. What’s more, they want the EPA to minimize disruptions to businesses in the area and compensate them for any necessary temporary relocation, business losses and other effects while the work goes on. We have a feeling that last request could be controversial.
Photo by Jim in Times Square
A popular City pool that has already been saved once from city budget cuts is now threatened with closure by the pending cleanup of the Gowanus Canal, DNAinfo reported. The pool at the Thomas Greene Playground, nicknamed the Double D for its location on Nevins and 3rd Avenue between Degraw and Douglass, sits where the EPA plans to build an underground sewage storage tank. The tank will house raw sewage runoff from the canal during rain storms. Nearby residents have started an online petition protesting the closure.
Locals Rally to Save Swimming Pool Threatened by Canal Cleanup [DNAinfo]
Photo by Brooklyn Paper
Buried in the Wall Street Journal article about Gowanus late last week was the news that Park Slope’s Gorilla Coffee is expanding to Gowanus. They plan to open a 4,000-square-foot cafe and coffee roaster at 500 President Street, between Nevins Street and 3rd Avenue. They will also remain at the Slope location at 97 5th Avenue. The above rendering comes from the Gorilla Facebook page, where they write, “Super excited to start roasting and serving coffee out of here. Stay tuned.” There isn’t an opening date yet.
More Signs of “Gowanus A-Go-Go” [WSJ] GMAP
1. PARK SLOPE $3,850,000
113 St. John’s Place GMAP P*Shark
A HOTD we listed in February. It was purchased for $2,900,000 back in 2007. We said, “Despite disagreeing with their choice to put recessed lighting in the parlor floor, we’re liking the look and feel of the rest of the interiors very much.” Someone else did, too — it was asking $3,750,000. Deed recorded on 4/4/2013.
2. GRAVESEND $3,400,000
2050 East 3rd Street GMAP P*Shark
No listing for this one-family home. The PropertyShark photo above was taken three years ago, so we don’t know that’s its current state. Deed recorded on 4/2/2013.
3. PARK SLOPE $2,830,000
409 8th Street GMAP P*Shark
A HOTD pick in March. It was listed for $2,995,000 after a failed attempt last spring asking $3,195,000. It’s a modern renovation that we said “is likely to split the vote.” Deed recorded on 4/4/2013.
5. GOWANUS $2,055,500
96 2nd Street GMAP P*Shark
An Open House Pick in December 2012. Back then it was asking $1,900,000. You can see the listing for this three family home here. This has to be one of the biggest sales to hit Gowanus… Deed recorded on 4/4/2013.