Lander Offers Gowanus Trade: High Rises for Flood Upgrades


High-rise apartment buildings with affordable housing, more parks, more schools, protected artists’ spaces, a special “super manufacturing zone” to protect factories — these are all part of a plan to redevelop Gowanus that Council Member Brad Lander will unveil Monday, according to a story in DNAinfo. “The Bridging Gowanus plan lays out a broad set of goals including flood-fighting infrastructure upgrades, affordable housing and a rezoning that would bolster manufacturing and allow new residential development, including high-rises in some places, for the first time since 1961,” the story said.

The vision, which Lander plans to present to the de Blasio administration, came out of a series of public meetings Lander convened over the last year called Bridging Gowanus. Most area residents support tall buildings from eight to 18 stories if other criteria are met, according to Lander.

Lander proposes allowing high rise development in exchange for other things area residents want, such as anti-flood measures, more schools, more parks, and measures to protect artists and manufacturers in the area, according to the story. In particular, tax revenue from new high rises would be used to decrease flooding in the area, he said:

A study by the City Council’s Land Use division found that allowing residential high-rises in Gowanus would increase land values by up to 20 times, Lander said, so allowing new residential development would also create the tax revenue needed to fund infrastructure upgrades, Lander said. “In many ways that’s the key to activating the plan and achieving the goals that people have,” Lander said.

New York City’s sewer system is archaic and based on 150-year-old systems that were designed on purpose to overflow into the Gowanus in heavy rains. It would cost billions to create a modern sewer system throughout the city, a Midwestern waste management executive once explained to us. (Above, 3rd Street between 3rd Avenue and and Bond Street in Gowanus.)

The meetings were criticized by community groups for being undemocratic, but since the results will not be officially unveiled until Monday, those groups have not yet weighed in on them. As you may recall, the city has yet to deliver on the parks promised in exchange for the Williamsburg-Greenpoint rezoning, which was pushed through over the objections of Community Board 1.

What do you think of the plan?

Gowanus Rezoning Plan Envisions High-Rise Development

What's Happening