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Gowanus’s landmarked Coignet Building lists for $6.5M

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One of the Brooklyn neighborhood’s most famous landmarks is up for grabs

A white concrete building sits on a street corner. The building’s exterior has decorative elements like columns and arched windows.
The renovated exterior of the Coignet Building in Gowanus, Brooklyn.
Vanessa Velez DeGarcia, courtesy The Corcoran Group

One of the most unique and historic buildings in Gowanus—and, until recently, one of the neighborhood’s crumbling relics—is now up for grabs, provided a buyer can shell out a big chunk of cash for it.

The Coignet Building, located at the corner of Third Street and Third Avenue, has listed with Corcoran for $6.5 million, according to Brownstoner. The building has a long and storied past: It’s the oldest concrete structure in the city, built by the Coignet Stone Company to showcase its pioneering method of using Béton Coignet, or reinforced concrete, a technique swiped from the French. But by 1882, the company had closed and the building entered a long period of switching hands, according to Brownstoner.

Finally, in 2005, Whole Foods purchased the land surrounding the building for just under $5 million as part of its plans to transform that corner of Gowanus into a new grocery store (which eventually opened in 2013). It became a New York City landmark in 2006, and Whole Foods carried out a restoration of the dilapidated building, which included revamping its crumbling facade and treating it with limewash.

An old brick building on a street corner. The exterior is run-down, with graffiti and boarded=up windows. It’s next to a vacant lot.
The Coignet Building in 2011, pre-restoration.
Max Touhey

The building is a commercial property, though a floorplan included with the listing indicates that there’s a bedroom on the premises. Still, a potential buyer would have their work cut out for them to turn this into a habitable office space or retail property. (And this isn’t the first time its owner has tried selling—the building was on the market with Cushman & Wakefield for $5 million in 2016, but never sold.) There’s also the fact that it sits on the banks of the Gowanus Canal, a Superfund site in the midst of a decade-long cleanup effort (and in a neighborhood that’s soon to be rezoned, though the outcome of that remains TBD).

Even though the exterior was revamped, the interior remains a bit of a mess; listings photos show peeling paint, chunks of plaster missing from ceilings, and brickwork that’s in need of a thorough cleaning. But, the listing notes, it has large windows, 12-foot ceilings on the upper levels, and 11-foot ceilings in the basement. “Now is the time to own a piece of Americana,” says the brokerbabble.

The Coignet Building is listed with Corcoran’s Vanessa DeGarcia and Erica Nieves.

A room in an industrial building. The room is run-down, with peeling green paint, dirty floors, and chunks of the walls missing.
Inside the Coignet Building today.
A run-down room in an industrial building. The room has arched windows, exposed brick, and chunks of plaster missing from the ceiling.
Inside the Coignet Building today.
A floorplan for a three-story industrial building with 12-foot ceilings.