Thursday, March 27, 2014

Site Of Green Building In Gowanus For Sale For Development

photo credit:: Six To Celebrate
A reader just send me a listing for 450-482 Union Street, the Gowanus site that includes the Green Building, a performance, private event space right at the shores of the Gowanus Canal.The listing is by Massey Knakal.  The reader, a property owner in Gowanus, received the flier above in the mail last week.  No price for the property is included in the listing.

From the description, it is clear that the huge lot is marketed to residential developers, though the zoning   does not permit housing at this point.
Here is how the property is being pitched:
"450-482 Union Street is an approximately 28,500 square foot lot located on the southeastern corner of Union and Bond Street with block-through exposure to the Gowanus Canal.  The property benefits from approximately 80' of frontage along Bond Street, 100' of frontage along Union Street.

The site is located in a M2-1 zoning district, benefiting from approximately 57,000 square feet of as-of-right development.  The property was previously included in the Special Mixed-Use  (MX) Waterfront North proposed re-zoning which would allow for commercial and residential development. A maximum FAR of 2.5 (71,250 BSF) would be allowed, which may  be increased to 3.3 (94,050 BSF) with an inclusionary housing bonus.

The subject property is currently net leased to a catering company with a lease  through 2027.  The lease contains a demolition clause that would terminate the agreement for residential development."

According to the Historic District Council, which featured the Gowanus area in their Six To Celebrate program because of its architectural and historic merit of the area, the Green Building at 450 Union Street at the Gowanus Canal: "this site has hosted a variety of industry since the Gowanus first began to operate shortly after the Civil War and is reflective of how long industry has characterized the area. It was previously home to Thomas Paulson & Son, a brass foundry."

This is not the first time that this old brick building is being threatened. Back in 2002, a luxury residential building was planned for that lot. According to the Historic District Council:
"After much community outcry and two years of discussion with the Board of Standards and Appeals, the site was not granted a residential rezoning and the building was saved. The building is being adaptively reused as an event space and serves as a symbol of the strength of the Gowanus community’s determination to preserve its industrial heritage."

This is just one more indication that real estate speculation in Gowanus is rampant.  Obviously, realtors are marketing land in the area as though the zoning to residential is a fait-accompli.
Obviously, even re-purposed buildings like the Green Building are in danger of being demolished, and with it, everything that makes Gowanus special.
Get involved, folks!

Read more about the pressures on Gowanus here.


Anonymous said...

After attending ALL the Gowanus planning meetings, I see we are being glad handed by the politicians . Take note of the empty lots and the spot zoning changes . They only confuse and divide us with the idea of affordable housing .

Anonymous said...

This matter went to the BSA along with the building on the southeast corner of Third and Bond. I believe Muss may have been involved. The developer did not meet the criteria for a variance and the BSA denied the variance. Given that the site is now being put to a successful use I think the owner would be even more hard pressed to demonstrate they meet the criteria. The lawyer for the developers submitted maps showing that the surrounding area was vacant lots and abandoned warehouses when in reality many of these sites had successful businesses. Even de Blasio sent a staffer to present testimony opposing the request for a variance. I think the basis for that may have been the need for a comprehensive development scheme.
I doubt any future buyer would have success at the BSA so maybe our politicians have all but guaranteed the rezoning. I wish that our council member would be a little more transparent and have a more open forum for this process.

Rob said...

Didn't the owners or people who run the Green Building also renovate the space across the street as another event space? That would be too bad if they did knock down that building. Whoever is running it seems to be doing well renting it out for events. It seems like there's always something going on there on the weekends. I couple of acquaintances of mine got married there too.

Anonymous said...

Landers has been charged with delivering the zoning change for this and other sites ASAP.
That's why the Pratt study has such an aggressive timeline. And there the community was at last Thursday's Bridging meeting, asked to imagine all needs for infrastructure were not an issue, where would we all put housing.

So where is the aggressive time line for addressing infrastructure needs?

How can Pratt ask the community to imagine what no one seems to have an answer for (flood, sewage, and sea-level rise). And yet Pratt/Landers will use that community input to make claims upon.

chance bliss said...

rob, the business across the street, 501 union (, is owned by a separate company. their long term ambition is to develop the venue into the "soho house" of brooklyn, positioning itself between the new tech and media money that's being pumped into industry city (down by 36th street and second avenue) and the ongoing redevelopment of downtown brooklyn.

that's what one of their event directors told me a few months back, when i stuck my head in the door to take a look around.

Anonymous said...

Please don't let this happen! My wife and I are celebrating our 1 year wedding anniversary this weekend and our wonderful wedding took place in this beautiful building. Such a shame!

Anonymous said...

It seems like a lovely building but NYC really needs more housing.

Agnes said...

Here you have a beautiful example of adaptive reuse of an industrial building. The site is thriving as zoned. How is it legal for an owner/realtor to sell it promising rezoning that is not a fait accompli? There are numerous issues with rezoning that land for residential, including, hello, it is in a hurricane evacuation route, flood plain, and hurricane Sandy is a recent example of the havoc that was wreaked in that area. To rezone with the same mindset as pre-Sandy, City Planning would be totally disregarding scientific facts. City Planning should NOT allow dense residential population on the banks of that canal. I am sure that the land sharks are circling, lobbying, and all else that money can buy to gain influence to make their billion dollar profits in Gowanus. They will not be living there, just hoping to profiteer regardless. Shame!

Gowanee said...

This ad comes from an old mindset that Gowanus is dead as M1-2 manufacturing, industrial - which indeed it is not. Property owners hoping to gain financially from that misconception are pushing. It has been going on for decades. What a blow to the company that made that green building thrive again. Residential land use is more profitable for land owners than M1-2, but we need M1-2 zoning to be protected, City Planning. Industry is thriving in Gowanus and actually needs more space. People need jobs, work places!

Anonymous said...

The BSA request was withdrawn - not denied.

Why does everyone assume the Green building will be demolished? 80,000 sf of residential could be built on the parking lot (100 apartments) and maintain an active ground floor use instead of parking fronting Union St.

Anonymous said...

1:49. Oh boy, where will everyone park??

Unknown said...

This building might have been Thomas Paulson & Son at one time, but more recently it was Regency Service Carts. Same company that also manufactured out of the big white building at Carroll & Bond Streets, as well as the big building next door on Carroll that sprouted the steel growth on top that was eventually removed.

Anonymous said...

8:13 There will be plenty of available parking spaces in 360 Bond and 340 Court St. New Gowanus residential development should only have bicycle parking. Zip car is available.

Anonymous said...

It's great news that more housing is coming to the neighborhood, given the housing shortage, and the abundance of vacant land along the Gowanus.

Hopefully this is the first of many new residential projects, though I'm sure that NIMBYs will be fighting changes every step of the way, in their pursuit to keep things as Detroit-like as possible.

Anonymous said...

Who really cares about an old brick building used for commercial events? We need more housing in this city, especially Brooklyn which had a 3.5% population growth in the last year.

I say tear the damn thing down and build more housing. Nothing is special about old Gowanus buildings and industry that once (or still does) pollute out waterways.

Anonymous said...

I don't use the canal nor do a plan on living on it so why should I care if it's polluted or not. We don't have any truly low to moderate income housing in our city council district so maybe Brad Lander and our other electeds can explore this. Maybe Mitchell Lama-like program is available. It may require the use of eminent domain but who cares - there will be housing. I personally think the blocks between Nevins and Fourth would be perfect for this. Let's make our electeds walk the walk when it comes to affordability.

Landmarking has also prevented housing from being built. I think these old dark brown houses are dreary looking and the landmark status should be revoked including Cobble Hill and Park Slope.