‘Hudson’ hawks: Warehouse owner loves Public Place plan

Henry Abadi, who owns a warehouse at 451 Smith St., is being courted by developers.
The Brooklyn Paper / Tom Callan

As if the project to transform a toxic tract along the Gowanus Canal into a residential community with shopping and park space wasn’t ambitious enough, the proposal is poised to become even bigger by adding a neighboring site to the mix.

The city chose a consortium led by the Hudson Companies last week to develop the so-called “Public Place” site — a former gas refinery between Fifth, Smith and Huntington streets and the canal — but Hudson has also talked with neighboring clothing manufacturer Henry Abadi about bringing his land, on Huntington Street, between Smith Street and the canal, into the fold.

The result would double the project’s size.

And Abadi, who sells school uniforms, T-shirts and other inexpensive garments, is on board.

“I’m ready,” Abadi told The Brooklyn Paper. “I’ll partner with them.”

The winning team, officially known as Gowanus Green Partnership, was happy to hear Abadi’s willingness to enlarge the development.

“Whatever can be added is a bonus,” said Alan Bell, a partner at The Hudson Companies.

Abadi, who will not sell the land, said he expects to build some below-market rate housing and “some service to the neighborhood,” in a similar vein to the Gowanus Green Partnership’s bid, which will have 541 units of “affordable” units, a canal-side esplanade, storefronts on Smith Street and space for community organizations.

“I’m not a guy that’s trying to take the gold and leave the mineshaft open,” said Abadi, as a way of explaining that he’s not selfishly profiteering.

No deal has been reached yet, but the city is happy Abadi is inclined to team up.

“When you’re doing a rezoning of an area from light industrial to residential and commercial, it makes sense to do it on a larger scale,” said Seth Donlin, a spokesman for the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

Abadi’s company will relocate to Edison, NJ later this summer.

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