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.
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.