Turning attention to places where cranes might someday collapse, the Department of City Planning finally showed its hand in Gowanus last night, unveiling its rezoning proposal. Like all such things, it's complicated, but it boils down to 25 blocks from an original 60 block study area. By leaving out the other territory, the city avoids a potentially bruising fight with those that want to preserve manufacturing. The proposal focuses on land on both sides of the Gowanus Canal that developers have targeted for condo development. (Including the Toll Brothers, who are looking for their own rezoning ahead of the bigger neighborhood one.) Highlights from the 25 blocks include buildings up to 12 stories tall in a "Waterfront South" district and up to 8 stories in a "Waterfront North" zone with a 40' wide public esplanade on both side of the canal where people may someday sip lattes while watching outdoor enthusiasts paddle down a cleaned up canal in kayaks...uh....where people can walk along the canal in front of the new condos. (Alas, the compelling Sponge Park proposal is an outside idea.) The rezoning would also cover a stretch of Fourth Avenue, Third Avenue and Union Streets, allowing 12 story buildings on Fourth Ave and eight story buildings along Third Ave. and Union Streets. In other places, there would be five-six story buildings. (A local City Council Member has asked for a ban on building hotels in the "manufacturing" zones.) The city hopes to have final plans for New Look Gowanus approved sometime in the second half of next year.
· 25 Blocks Worth of Change in Gowanus [GL]