GOWANUS, Brooklyn — The stage is set for some of the biggest development New Yorkers will see in the city during the next decade.
The Gowanus neighborhood, named after the historically polluted canal, will see high-rises, businesses, and more than 8,500 units of housing. It could prove blueprint for type of big development in the city moving forward — whether neighbors like it or not.
Some had sued to stop the Gowanus up-zoning by the City Council, expressing a range of concerns from gentrification, to destroying the character of the neighborhood, to sewer capacity concerns.
However, city officials are cheering the effort as progress toward addressing the affordability crisis, with 3,000 of those homes proposed for Gowanus being affordable.
Incoming Comptroller Brad Lander currently represents Gowanus in the City Council.
“This is not just a plan to open Gowanus up to more housing developments, but comes with a real commitment to affordability, to preserving the mixed use nature of the neighborhood, to public housing,” Lander said.
The funding for NYCHA is what sealed the deal for many, including Mayor-elect Eric Adams. He cheered the $200 million in commitments to fix up the nearby Gowanus Houses and Wyckoff Gardens.
Public Housing dollars and other unique parts of the plan may signal a path forward for future big of upzoning projects long considered, including allowing bigger building in SoHo.
For example, Lander said through neighborhood engagement and negotiations, part of the Gowanus plan includes a commitment to 150 artist studios, a new zoning district for arts and light manufacturing, and the preservation of five historic buildings.
However, the biggest concern, especially with climate change, is storm water and sewer runoff. There is already major flooding concerns in Gowanus especially along Fourth Avenue every time there is a decent amount of rain.
There is more than $170 million in this plan to address local sewer issues, and the buildings that go up will by law have to have larger storm water capacity built-in then we’ve ever seen before in the history of the city.