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Gowanus Bat Cave's tranformation into a shiny new arts space is moving forward

The nonprofit behind the project filed plans for the redevelopment

Max Touhey

The transformation of the Bat Cave—the graffiti-covered, once-squatter-filled abandoned warehouse of the banks of the Gowanus Canal—into a shiny, Herzog & de Meuron-designed arts center is officially moving forward.

The Real Deal reports that the nonprofit behind the project, BRT Powerhouse LLC, has filed plans with the city’s Department of Buildings for a horizontal enlargement to the existing three-story warehouse.

The plans also shed some light on the scope of the project itself, which has largely been shrouded in mystery: According to the filing, the expansion will nearly double the size of the complex, from the warehouse’s current 73,958 square feet to a total of 143,041 square feet. This will be accomplished by adding a six-story addition in the footprint of a former boiler house, which was torn down years ago; that addition will rise six stories, or 96 feet.

Herzog & de Meuron

The forthcoming building’s uses are also revealed, to some degree, within the filings: there will be spaces for printing, ceramics, textile work, metal and wood shops, and more; the plans also call for a great hall and banquet room, along with bike storage and parking.

The Bat Cave was a magnet for taggers, squatters, and urban explorers for many years, until it was purchased by philanthropist Joshua Rechnitz for $7 million back in 2012. He’s had an eye toward converting the abandoned building into an arts space for some time, and partnered with the nonprofit Powerhouse Environmental Arts Foundation to create a hub for manufacturing, fabrication, and other creative uses. It’ll be called, appropriately enough, the Powerhouse.

We’ve reached out to reps for the Powerhouse and will update with any new information.