Tuesday, March 19, 2013

DCP To Lightstone On Gowanus: Full Speed Ahead

City Planning gave the green light for Lightstone's Carroll Street
Gowanus development. I opposed the rezoning that Toll Bothers secured
for this property before abandoning their efforts when the Superfund
designation was announced. (Personally I suspect Toll was more worried
about the housing market than Superfund, which gave them an excuse to
exit gracefully under protest). But the Brooklyn housing market has
proved incredibly resilient, and Lightstone stepped in to pick up
where Toll left off.
The Manhattan-based Lightstone Group is set to break ground later this
year on the project along the shores of Bond, Carroll and Second
streets after satisfying new floodplains for the next century set up
by feds.
Lightstone is pulling the housing back another 17 feet so that 66 ¹/₂
feet will separate the canal from the closest planned building.
Lobby areas would be raised more than two feet so they're 10.6 feet
above the floodplains. Heating, air conditioning and power systems
would be moved out of the basements of each building and relocated to
"We are proud to be in a position to jump-start the transformation of
the largely abandoned or under-utilized borders of the canal to
productive use," said developer Mitchell Hochberg.
But Councilman Brad Lander, who represents the area, said he "still
believe[s] it's a mistake to move forward with" such a densely
populated project near the canal.
Brad's right of course, and I still believe the City has to take a
comprehensive look at the zoning around Gowanus before the facts on
the ground change much further (as of right hotels, one-off variances,
etc) and (I hope) before the next big storm surge. And we need to
address infrastructure needs with any change in development patterns.

For a whole lot more color (and of course, pictures) on the hearing, check out Pardon Me For Asking.

One silver lining in all of this: the Lightstone proposal (at least as
presented when I saw it in the fall) is objectively better than the
original Toll plan.

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