With the rezoning of Gowanus now (slightly) more than a glimmer of light shining in the far, far distance, commercial values in the neighborhood appear to be climbing steadily. Case in point: A warehouse that takes up all of the eastern side of Third Avenue between Douglass and Degraw streets—and extends pretty far up toward Fourth Avenue—is on the market for a cool $15 million. Whoever buys the warehouse at 191 Third Avenue (which happens to be an old Daily News garage) can put up an 80,000-square-foot building in its place, according to Ken Freeman, the Massey Knakal broker who’s marketing the property. Current zoning allows for only office or hotel construction, but that could change when Gowanus is rezoned. It’ll be interesting to see whether a developer buys this one and holds onto it until the neighborhood is rezoned or if the nearby Comfort Inn, Holiday Inn Express and soon-to-open Hotel Le Bleu are going to get some competition.
Gowanus Rezoning: Complete Chaos [Brownstoner] GMAP P*Shark


Only two blocks away from the site of the planned Hudson Companies townhouse condos, an eight-unit, Scarano-designed condo building is rising at 10-14 4th Street. It looks like it will have the trademark big windows along with high ceilings and balconies. In all the, five-story structure will come in at just over 10,000 square feet. While controversy has surrounded the Scarano design just a block away at 360 Smith, this place has flown under the radar. The scale’s maybe a story too high in our opinion but otherwise the design looks okay to us for this location.


The Hudson Companies, the folks who brought you the J Condo in Dumbo, are gearing up to build a series of townhouse condominiums on a 50-by-90-foot lot at the corner of 3rd and Bond Streets in Gowanus that the company purchased at the end of May. (The Brooklyn Eagle cites a price of $7,775,000 but PropertyShark says $4,975,000.) The site actually comprises five lots (Numbers 107-119) for a total footprint of 15,600 square feet. With an FAR of 2.43 3, the developers should be able to build about 38,000 square feet of residential space as of right according to our calculations, though The Eagle story quotes a Massey Knakal broker saying that the number is actually 46,728 square feet of residential space. Hudson’s David Kramer says the project will include about 50 units spread out over nine or 10 townhouses. Rogers Marvel will do the design. It’ll be very interesting to see what the appetite will be in this area for what will presumably pretty high-end product.
Hudson to Build New Townhouse Condos [Brooklyn Eagle] GMAP P*Shark
More Detail on the Baby J Condos in Gowanus [Gowanus Lounge]
Photo by Kate Leonova for Property Shark


With the Hotel Le Bleu’s grand opening just around the corner, someone from the Brooklyn Eagle was able to duck inside the 4th Avenue boutique hotel for a peek. The verdict? “A finished room was on par with some of the boutique hotels in Manhattan–thinking Hudson and Gansevoort, and the Blue went one better: big views looking west to the harbor and north to Manhattan.” So what price luxury hipness? According to the hotel website (screen shot on the jump), rooms run from $349 to $399 a night. It’ll be interesting to see whether folks are willing to drop that kinda coin for a stay on the decidely un-upscale 4th Avenue. What do you think?
Inside Brooklyn’s Soon-to-Open Hotel le Bleu [Brooklyn Eagle] GMAP


After years of inaction, the city is now planning to do something with a huge contaminated lot on the banks of the Gowanus Canal. On Monday, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development announced that for the next three months it will be accepting proposals from developers to turn the site at Smith and 5th Streets into a large mixed-use development. According to the press release, there are lots of requirements to comply with. In addition to conforming to HPD’s New Construction Sustainability Requirements (you know, green stuff), all proposals must include plans for at least 400 apartments, at least half of which must be affordable to low-, moderate-, and middle-income; there also has to be an unspecified amount of senior housing. In addition, HPD’s looking for a plan that includes lots of open space and community facilities. Before you get all excited and whip out your drafting implements, don’t forget that a lengthy, expensive environmental cleanup (which is being done by Keyspan) that has to happen before any building can even begin. What sort of public or community facilities would you like to see here?
Press Release: City Announces New Development for Public Place [HPD]
Here is Your Public Place Vision [Gowanus Lounge] GMAP
Public Place to Get Cleanup at Last [NY Daily News]


Why sell used cars when you can get in on the building boom that has been creeping down the slope of The Slope? Rather than sell the property they’ve held for the past four decades, the owners of the lot at the corner of 3rd Avenue and President Street have decided to develop it themselves. Unfortunately, their first attempt to get the Department of Buildings to sign off on a 18,000-square-foot hotel met was rejected three weeks ago so we can only assume they’ve gone back to the drawing board. GMAP P*Shark DOB


It’s been a tough slog for Whole Foods in Brooklyn already and the organic grocery giant hasn’t even started construction on the 68,000-square-foot market it wants to build at the corner of 3rd Street and 3rd Avenue in Gowanus. The store, which will include 37,000-square-feet of underground retail space, can built as-of-right (once the environmental clean-up is complete), so no approval from community groups is required; that doesn’t mean there’s been a lack opinions voiced. “They’ve wrapped themselves in the cloak of being green and organic, but they’re certainly not acting that way,” said Eric McClure, campaign coordinator of Park Slope Neighbors. “Their talk is not matching their walk.” Another local group, Green Roof Brooklyn, says it supports the arrival of Whole Foods in general but wants to company to cut about 140 parking spaces and add a green roof to help ease pollution in the area. A third group, Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus, is critical of how the environmental stage of the project has been going, claiming that the process is pushing benzene and other contaminants into the underground water supply. Whole Foods paints the naysayers as a small minority of the thousands of residents who will be served by the store. We’re curious to know how the Brownstoner community feels about this one. Take this quick poll to let us know. Update: As of about 2:15 today, 120 people have taken the poll. The results so far? Over half of respondents say that they are “psyched for the Whole Foods plan as is and think the critics should shut up and get out of the way” while about one third say they “welcome the idea of an upscale market in the area but have concerns about the environmental impact of the project.”
Whole Foods Meets Opposition in Brooklyn [Austin Statesman] GMAP
Whole Foods Poll [Survey Monkey]
Photo by leahlb


Prolific Brooklyn photographer Sam Horine aka f.trainer posted this photo to Flickr recently of the Comfort Inn that has been so ungraciously dumped in our midst by the style hounds at McSam Hotel LLC who are also responsible for bringing us that other vision of loveliness, the Gowanus Holiday Inn Express . That “Coming Soon” sign has appeared at some point since Gowanus Lounge paid a visit to the site two weeks ago. As Mr. Horine notes in his Flickr post, though, this is a bit of a challenging location:

Across the street, there are two motorcycle clubs. in the back, the hotel faces the wyckoff housing complex and at the end of the block there is an abandoned school.

What do you think? Is this the best we could have expected for this location? Should we just count ourselves lucky to have a cheap place to stash the relatives and move on?
Comfort, Gowanus Style [Flickr] GMAP


City planners focused on rezoning the area around the Gowanus Canal are finding out the hard way (as if they didn’t already know) that you can’t please all the people all the time. Like Red Hook to its west, Gowanus has a largely industrial past, though with plenty of residential patches. Given the prices for housing (and the lack of vacant land) in the surrounding areas, property owners are understandably salivating over the potential for canal-side living. In its effort to balance residential and retail development with existing commercial uses, City Planning has divided the area in five zones. Don’t hold your breath though: As Purnima Kapur, the director of the Department of City Planning’s Brooklyn office, said, “It will not be an easy or short process. It seems to us that everyone may be getting a little ahead of themselves. The area has a long way to go environmentally before residential development can begin, no?
Gowanus Overhaul – Affordable Housing Included in Rezoning [Courier]
Board Briefed on Gowanus Cleanup [Downtown Star]
CB6 Residents Sick of Industry, Pollution [Green Brooklyn]