In the tortoise race to transform the gritty neighborhood that surrounds the Gowanus Canal into a residential enclave, it appears one condo developer has finally emerged as a hare.
David Kramer of Hudson Companies said this week that he plans to begin building the first new residential development west of the notoriously stinky industrial canal within two months, putting the development’s construction timeline months ahead of larger projects planned for sites a few blocks north.
And it’s all because of zoning.
Kramer’s plan to construct a 45-unit, townhouse-style development at 111 Third St., on the corner of Bond Street, conforms to the zoning code, helping the developer avoid controversy in the low-rise neighborhood — while putting his plan on the fast-track.
“We knew that [the decision to build a low-rise development] would be extremely appealing to the community,” said Kramer, a Manhattan-based developer who made a high-profile (and high-rise) debut in Brooklyn last year with the 33-Story J Condos tower in DUMBO.
Conversely, Toll Brothers, a national corporation best known for building suburban McMansions, began planning for a townhouse-style condo development on Bond Street between Carroll and Second streets last year. That project has been stymied by the land’s industrial zoning and, in January, the developer withdrew an application to clean the contaminated land because of the delay.
“In the end, we applied for the cleanup too early,” said spokesman David Von Spreckelsen in January. The spokesman said that the company plans to “eventually” build on the site, which is now occupied by a stark cement building used by businesses.
Hudson Companies shelled out close to $8 million for the residentially-zoned property, according to broker Ken Freeman. The development will replace the offices of an electrical contracting company that is now relocating to Red Hook, Freeman said.
Kramer also said that keeping the development low-rise would keep construction costs on the market-rate condos “more affordable.” The cost considerations were the primary factor in his decision to build low, he said. Meanwhile, other developers in the Gowanus have been doing a different math that takes into account the cost of rezoning industrial property.
Developer Shaya Boymelegreen’s Gowanus Village will likely include some 10-story loft buildings along the canal between Carroll and Third streets, just across the Third Street Bridge from the Hudson Companies.
Along the canal at Sackett Street, the owner of the Bayside Fuel Terminal has proposed building nine-to13-story condos after a cleanup of the land is complete.