LPC Calendars Five Historic Industrial Buildings in Gowanus, Says Public Hearings Coming Soon

The Montauk Paint Manufacturing Company Building. Photo via Landmarks Preservation Commission

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This morning, following their surprising inclusion Monday afternoon on the LPC’s hearing lineup, five properties have been calendared in Gowanus.

Each building represents the “best architectural examples of their type in the area,” said LPC Chair Sarah Carroll.

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The ASPCA Rogers Memorial Building in 2018

The properties that were calendered include: the Gowanus Flushing Tunnel Pumping Station and Gate House at 196 Butler Street; the Somers Brothers Tinware Factory (later called the American Can Company) at 238-246 3rd Street; the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company (BRT) Central Power Station Engine House at 153 2nd Street; the Montauk Paint Manufacturing Company Building at 170 2nd Avenue; and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Rogers Memorial Building at 233 Butler Street.

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The Batcave in 2017

Specific attention was paid to the BRT Central Power Station Engine House, better known as the Batcave. The building, Carroll said, has a “strong presence and speaks to the many layers of history in the neighborhood.” Its owner intends to turn it into an art gallery and studio space.

Public hearings for each of the five properties will be scheduled “for the very near future,” Carroll added to close the meeting.

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Somers Brothers Tinware Factory/American Can Company. Photo via Landmarks Preservation Commission

Locals and preservationists have been advocating for landmarking for the buildings for years. Among other buildings in the area, preservationists have been trying to save Gowanus Station, located at 234 Butler Street, also a pumping station, which has not been calendared. The city intends to acquire the building via eminent domain and raze to make way for an underground sewage overflow tank related to the canal Superfund cleanup.

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The Gowanus Flushing Tunnel Pumping Station and Gate House. Photo via Landmarks Preservation Commission

Aside from the eventual cleanup, the shadow hanging over all of this is the future rezoning of Gowanus. In January 2019, a Draft Zoning Proposal was released to the public that laid out the city’s plans for the development of the neighborhood, including moves to allow higher density mixed-use development around Thomas Greene Playground and 3rd Avenue, as well as facilitate public access and apartments along the Gowanus Canal.

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