Developing Gowanus After Superfund

08/01/2011 3:40 PM |


The Bloomberg administration lobbied against designating the ineffably filthy Gowanus Canal a Superfund site, fearing the classification would stymie development. It was right. “Soon after designation occurred, Toll Brothers backed out of plans to develop several blocks of property along the canal on the south side of Bond Street,” the Times reports, “jettisoning a $5 million deposit rather than deal with the ensuing years of remediation and possible litigation.”

But good riddance, eh? In place of such crude mega-development, the emerging neighborhood that takes its name from the polluted waterway it surrounds has been developing more organically.

Marc Santora writes:

It has been a year since the developers stopped calling. But something interesting has happened in the interim. A different kind of development, which had been slowly but surely transforming the neighborhood before developers got interested, is now taking advantage of the halt in large-scale building.

Artists and small businesses priced out of other neighborhoods have been taking up residence in the old warehouses. Nightclubs have popped up on streets that taxi repair shops and truck depots once dominated. Restaurants, bars and bakeries have all moved in, creating a scene that longtime Brooklyn residents compare to DUMBO before the multimillion-dollar lofts and Williamsburg before Bedford Avenue became a destination.

The article, from this weekend’s real estate section.