The future is bright for the Gowanus neighborhood by Justin Fitzsimmons October 14, 2016

NYREJ | October 4, 2016

While the general public may simply look at Gowanus as a nondescript section of Brooklyn that connects Park Slope with Cobble Hill/ Carroll Gardens, others see much more for the future of this “waterfront” enclave.

Of note, a variety of industrial properties in Gowanus, many along the 3rd Ave. corridor, have recently been transformed into hotels and retail properties, largely a result of restrictive zoning. There is no guarantee where real estate prices will go as the neighborhood sees an influx of product, but Gowanus – the focus of GFI Realty’s next research report to be released October 2016 – is certainly getting similar attention, development-wise, similar to a number of Brooklyn neighborhoods on the cusp of change.

But the elephant in the room, which may temper the area’s growth, is the issue of rezoning. Unlike its eastern neighbor, 4th Ave., Gowanus’ 3rd Ave. was left out of the substantial residential rezoning the neighborhood received in 2003. Besides 365 Bond, The Lightstone Group’s massive, 700-unit rental project that’s rising alongside the canal and already welcoming tenants, we’ve yet to see a comparable project rise on 3rd Ave. or the side streets to the west. The issue of zoning has stood in the way of residential revitalization.

This fall, the Department of City Planning will be studying the area before making a formal decision on whether or not to rezone parts of Gowanus and encourage residential development. Many speculate that City Hall intends to push for the rezoning of the area to promote more growth. And developers, who are sitting on property in the neighborhood, are waiting for what some call the inevitable. However, only time will tell what the future holds for Gowanus.

Justin Fitzsimmons is a research analyst at GFI Realty, New York, N.Y.

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