Boom goes the neighborhood.
More than 2,000 new housing units are in the works in Carroll Gardens and the gritty area along the Gowanus Canal between Sackett and Fifth streets. But a growing number of naysayers want to slow the pace of development.
“The fear is not one site, it is the health of the whole area,” said Linda Mariano, a member of Friends and Residents of the Greater Gowanus. “There is raw sewage in this canal and you should see the flooding. We are saying, ‘Fix it now’ before it gets worse.”
At a standing-room-only Town Hall meeting late last month, one possible “fix” emerged — the expansion of the Carroll Gardens Historic District, which currently covers a small area between Smith and Hoyt streets, from First Place almost to Union Street. Within the historic district, buildings can’t rise any higher than 50 feet and all new development must keep the 19th-century Italianate architecture common in the area.
The district includes fewer than 200 buildings and is one of the city’s smaller landmark areas. Advocates say that widening its boundaries to include blocks of rowhouses west of Bond Street is an obvious salvo in the battle against what they consider inappropriate development.
“Landmark designation basically guarantees the physical integrity of a community,” said Bob Furman, head of the Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance.
Councilman Bill DeBlasio (D–Cobble Hill) may soon hire Furman, a former member of the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, to complete a historical survey of the area, said DeBlasio spokesman, Tom Gray.
The emphasis on neighborhood character apparently has some momentum. After fearing that a larger residential tower would be built at a former Long Island College Hospital building at 340 Court St., a spokesman for the Clarett Group, which is in contract to buy the building, said the developer plans to build low-rise townhouses that would be “in context” with the area.
The Big Boom
Low-scale Carroll Gardens is about to experience a growth spurt of unprecedented magnitude. Here is a rundown of 13 developments to watch.
|Bayside Fuel Depot, West bank of the Gowanus Canal between Sackett and Union streets.||Canal-front complex of 10- to 12-story towers with 300–400 units||Toxic remnants still being removed.|
|340–352 Bond St., at Third Street||Four-story, eight-unit loft-style apartment building||Construction currently frozen because of a code violation.|
|211 Columbia St., at Sackett Street||11-story building with 13 units||Construction underway.|
|340 Court St., at Union Street||Townhouse development||Developer Clarett Group is still in contract for the site. No architect yet.|
|333 Carroll St., between Hoyt and Bond streets||Six-story, 31-unit condo||Halted by the Buildings Department in mid-construction.|
|671 Henry St., on the corner of Luquer Street||Four-story building, five units||The blue construction fences are up. Permits are approved. Construction could start within the month.|
|Gowanus Village, both sides of the canal, between Union and Third streets||Canal-front complex of several 3- to 12-story buildings, with 400 units||Construction hasn’t begun.|
|Toll Brothers, Bond Street between Carroll and Second streets||Canal-front complex of low-rise townhouse-style condos||Toll Brothers is waiting for Gowanus area to be rezoned for apartments. Could be years.|
|100 Luquer St., between Clinton and Henry streets||11-story building, 20 units||Construction to begin this fall.|
|360 Smith St., corner of Second Place||Six-story apartment building with 46 units||Construction underway.|
|111 Third St., at Bond Street||Four- or five-story townhouse-style condo development, with 45 units||Completion date 2008.|
|Columbia Street area projects: 5 Columbia St., 86–98 Congress St., 79 Warren St., 104–116 Warren St., 101–115 Baltic St.||Three 4- to 7-story buildings, with 153 units||Has yet to begin the eight-month public review process.|
|Public Place site, Smith Street at Fifth Street||Several 3- to 14-story buildings, with 400 units||City still looking for a developer.|