The Real Deal New York

Gowanus Superfund decision looms

March 01, 2010 04:34PM

From left: A rendering of Toll Brothers’ Planned Bond Street development, the Gowanus Canal

The fate of the Gowanus Canal and its controversial Superfund status is expected to be determined this month, in a decision that could hinder large-scale development plans for the surrounding area for decades. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which decided last April to put the site on its priorities list despite the city’s own efforts to clean it up, has scheduled a public information meeting for Thursday to discuss “what has been going on with the remedial investigation of the contamination and what we plan on doing,” according to a spokesperson for the agency. The spokesperson did not reveal when a final decision would be made. The city, along with business group Clean Gowanus Now Coalition, of which luxury home builder Toll Brothers is a part, has been lobbying against a Superfund designation, arguing that the city should be able to follow through with its plans for the site. The group has thus far been successful in slowing down the EPA’s decision, which had been expected last November, but sources told Crain’s that the EPA is likely to make the Gowanus Canal a Superfund site in the end. Toll Brothers had been planning to purchase three parcels of land on the canal to build a mixed-income residential complex but has said it will renege on the plans if the site is a Superfund. “Given the way Superfund sites work, it could be a decade or more from now before clean up starts,” said David Von Spreckelsen, a vice president at Toll Brothers. “We just don’t have that time horizon. We will most likely walk away from the properties.” [Crain’s]

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