Gowanus poised to smash city’s housing goals — years early
Developers on track to exceed target of 8,500 new homes by 2035
After taking a decade to crawl through the city’s political gauntlet, the Gowanus rezoning is on track to deliver its promised housing years ahead of schedule.
With more than 8,000 apartments in the works, the Brooklyn neighborhood is poised to blast through city officials’ prediction of 8,500 by 2035.
Developers’ zeal to build near the Gowanus Canal — a toxic waterway on its way to becoming a public amenity — stands in stark contrast to their interest in the de Blasio administration’s first rezoning, in East New York, where less than 10 percent of expected apartments have been built after seven years.
Yet obstacles remain in Gowanus. Not all of its filed projects have secured construction financing — a challenge given the highest interest rates in a generation and a completion deadline for the 421a tax break essential to all of the multifamily development planned.
Gov. Kathy Hochul did roll out an alternative tax subsidy for Gowanus projects, but insiders say getting it will not be a walk in the park. “The governor’s solution is being recognized by developers in Gowanus as a step in the right direction,” said Ofer Cohen, founder of Brooklyn-based finance brokerage TerraCRG, which provided data about the area.
Some developers who placed early bets in Gowanus already have construction loans. Financed projects include a 360-unit building by Vorea Group and Domain Companies at 420 Carroll Street, a 344-unit project by PMG and Carlyle Group at 285 Bond Street, and a 350-unit building at 499 President Street by the Brodsky Organization.
Also, Tavros Capital Partners and Charney Companies just nailed down financing for its 261-unit project at 251 Douglass Street.
Applications for new buildings have continued apace since the rezoning was approved in November 2021.
The largest, at least on paper, is an envisioned 425,000-square-foot structure with 899 apartments at 459 Smith Street. Originated by Yoel Goldman, whose All Year Management went bankrupt, the project now figures to be developed by Texas-based Lantower Residential, according to an individual familiar with the project.
Aby Rosen’s RFR Holding says it will have 450 units in a mixed-use development at 175 Third Street, across from Whole Foods, although an early 2022 filing pegged it as 375 units.
Simon Dushinsky’s Rabsky Group plans a 98-unit building at 313 Bond Street, at the corner of President Street. Rabsky bought the site from All Year Management in 2019 for $95 million.
Slate Property Group has proposed a 64-unit development at 224 Third Avenue and Marc Jay Freud’s Troutbrook Company is planning 80 units at 285 Douglass Street.
Some less familiar developers who have staked claims in Gowanus include Eduard Slinin, an entrepreneur and condo board member at 432 Park Avenue. (Slinin was instrumental in a lawsuit against Harry Macklowe alleging construction defects at the supertall.) He plans to build 70 units at 335 Bond Street.
Dolly Williams, a former member of the City Planning Commission, wants to build 80 apartments at 213 Third Avenue and George Hoffman’s eponymous firm is planning 82 units at 33 Fourth Street.
The Gowanus rezoning was subject to a painstaking effort to build community consensus by then-City Council member Brad Lander. That took most of the decade, and still an opposition group pursued a legal challenge, claiming the neighborhood’s infrastructure would not be able to accommodate all the new housing.
Others predicted gentrification, although 3,000 of the new units are expected to be income-restricted rentals.
The courts ruled the city’s process was legal.