City Hall plans to rezone Gowanus for more resi development

Councilman Brad Lander is a backer, giving the effort an early boost

365 Bond Street in Gowanus (inset from top: Carl Weisbrod, Brad Lander and Bill de Blasio
365 Bond Street in Gowanus (inset from top: Carl Weisbrod, Brad Lander and Bill de Blasio

After watching Gowanus morph from an industrial neighborhood to one that’s attracting real estate development, the de Blasio administration said Monday it intends to rezone the rapidly gentrifying area to make way for more affordable housing.

“We see tremendous potential here for new affordable housing, and to secure and expand good manufacturing jobs,” Austin Finan, a spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio, told Politico. “It’s also a chance to give nearby Fourth Avenue a second look, and see if we can realize some of the opportunities missed there years ago.” Fourth Avenue was rezoned in 2003.

The Department of City Planning will study the neighborhood this fall. Previously, in a community study dubbed “Bridging Gowanus,” City Council members and residents said they’d support residential development, as long as it includes housing for low- to middle-income residents and preserves art spaces.

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Although de Blasio’s rezoning efforts in other parts of the city have faced criticism, notably in East New York, Councilman Brad Lander said he would back a rezoning in Gowanus — giving City Hall an early boost in its latest effort.

“The need and the opportunity are clear. … Working together, we can insure a sustainable, mixed-use, creative and inclusive future for Gowanus,” he said in a statement.

In recent years, major real estate players are making bets in the polluted neighborhood. The Lightstone Group opened its controversial $350 million rental project at 365 Bond Street earlier this year. [Politico]E.B. Solomont