Firms file plans for hundreds of homes ahead of Gowanus rezoning

Two projects would have a combined 628 apartments

Vorea Principal Peter Papamichael with 404 Carroll Street (top) and 540 Degraw Street (bottom) in Gowanus (Vorea, Google Maps)
Vorea Principal Peter Papamichael with 404 Carroll Street (top) and 540 Degraw Street (bottom) in Gowanus (Vorea, Google Maps)

Domain Companies and the Vorea Group literally can’t wait for Gowanus to be rezoned.

Vorea filed plans last week for two projects in the neighborhood, both of which will require the passage of the Gowanus rezoning. One, at 404 Carroll Street, would feature 360 apartments and ground-floor retail space.

The other, at 540 DeGraw Street, would have 268 apartments, according to Department of Buildings filings. The city’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program would require that 20 percent to 30 percent of units at the two sites be permanently affordable.

The parcels are zoned for manufacturing use, so the projects hinge on the neighborhood rezoning being approved by the City Council. The City Planning Commission approved it in September.

The rezoning covers 82 blocks in Gowanus and would pave the way for more than 8,500 new apartments, 3,000 of which would be set aside for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers under the inclusionary program.

According to city property records, Domain purchased adjacent sites between DeGraw and Sackett streets in 2018, one at 540 DeGraw (also known as 537 Sackett) for $26.5 million and another at 553 Sackett for $5.8 million. It picked up two adjacent sites on Carroll Street that same year for $47.5 million.

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Vorea Group’s Peter Papamichael filed permit applications for the sites, though the company’s role on the project was not immediately clear. Vorea and Domain, which is co-led by Papmichael’s cousin, Chris Papamichael, have worked together on other projects.

Chris Papmichael

Chris Papamichael

The Papamichaels may be keen to get their projects underway given the impending expiration of property tax abatement program Affordable New York, formerly known as 421a, in June.

A representative for Vorea declined to comment.

At the time of the acquisitions, Domain noted that the rezoning was on the horizon and that the three sites were among the “few sizable redevelopment parcels in Gowanus to sell in recent years.”

The rezoning is poised to be approved by the City Council this month, assuming the two local members, Brad Lander and Stephen Levin, come to terms with the de Blasio administration on funding for public housing nearby.