On Tuesday, September 24, the Landmarks Preservation Commission will hold a public hearing for five different properties in Gowanus ahead of possible designation.
Locals and preservationists have been advocating for landmarking the buildings for years. The ones that will be considered by the commission include: the Gowanus Pumping Station and Gate House at 196 Butler Street; the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company Central Power Station Engine House at 153 2nd Street, better known as the Batcave; the Montauk Paint Manufacturing Company Building at 170 2nd Avenue; the ASPCA Rogers Memorial Building at 233 Butler Street; and the Somers Brothers Tinware Factory (later American Can Company) at 238-246 3rd Street.
The five are among the buildings the Gowanus Landmarking Coalition has been pushing to landmark ahead of a proposed rezoning of the area. They were calendered by the commission in June. Each building represents the “best architectural examples of their type in the area,” said LPC Chair Sarah Carroll at that meeting.
Aside from the eventual cleanup of the canal, 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.
Opposed by many long-time residents, the proposed rezoning calls for apartment towers as tall as 30 stories, which has the potential to utterly transform the character of the low-rise, industrial neighborhood.
[Photos by Susan De Vries]
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