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Gowanus: ready, willing and able for rezoning.

A lot has happened in Downtown Brooklyn over the past several years, and we are pleased to say that Troutbrook Company has been a part of effectuating, on a micro basis, some of that change.

Though relatively new to the borough, we have consistently tried to be imaginative in determining locations for development. At the time we acquired properties that may not have appeared to be optimally desireable, however many have proven to be strong projects often out-performing what seasoned appraisers and bankers have predicted.

In our search, we believe we have found another area that is prone to be an exciting new location, and is presently being considered for rezoning by the NYC Planning Department.

Recently, Brooklyn City Planning's' borough office embarked on analyzing potential sites for residential and mixed use zoning changes throughout Brooklyn. One area being studied is Gowanus, which lies to the west of Park Slope and to the east of Carroll Gardens and, for many years was home to manufacturers, retailers, industrialists and some residents.

Over the past several years, this area has seen some substantive change. A new 115-room Holiday Inn opened four months ago, followed by a Comfort Inn that will open next quarter on Butler Street. Perhaps an indication of the future prospects of the area and the hospitality industry's strength is the Holiday Inn hotel delivering a solid occupancy of 75% in its short term of operation with an ADR slightly less than $200. Another example is the arrival of Whole Foods, which is constructing an approximate 65,000 s/f multi level retail store.

Scheduled for completion in 2008, this retailer will also build a 420 parking facility; creating a destination that will assist in creating a vibrant neighborhood that may lend itself to further change by introducing housing for various household income levels, and mixed use development, in specific locations North of 3rd Street.

Though in its intial stage of planning, this area has the ability to a create a sustainable green community, in which various sites offer opportunity to develop something quite special, either by providing much-needed housing, or different neighborhood retail for future generations.

One locale under consideration for rezoning and use is the immediate area of Smith and Ninth Street.

This location is the last stop for Red Hook on the IRT F and G lines and is but two blocks from two recently completed developments--505 Court Street, developed by Apollo Real Estate and 529 Court Street, developed by Troutbrook.

In the past two years, smaller buildings have been bought, sold, developed and renovated, with new restaurants and shops opening with regularity creating a slow, but progressive synergy for new homeowners and renters.

What was before an area that few retailers seem inclined to venture will soon welcome a new Brick Oven Pizza restaurant, a Curves fitness franchise, 487 Court restaurant.

Another site for opportunity, being considered for rezoning from industrial to residential, and is perhaps underutilized, is at the northern tip of the Gowanus area ending at Butler Street, on Third Avenue.

With the introduction of bike paths on some stretches of Third Avenue by NYC's DOT recently, in one small way, the greening of the Gowanus is beginning. The divergent forces shaping the borough lend themselves not towards displacement but rather relocation of industrial and manufacturing uses.

The designated North district that includes the Thomas Greene Park; offers an opportunity for the Planning Department, with community vision and private real estate companies input, to create a immediate area that will prove, if rezoned, a magnificent sub-market that can create a destination park, with surrounding, to-be-built buildings that can potentially offer outdoor public areas, with bicycle storage and seating, further creating an oasis in the Gowanus.

It does not take much imagination to envision several new residential buildings, surrounding the park corners, catering to for sale or rental housing. A destination restaurant with large outdoor seating can easily be conceived. The Thomas Greene Park includes two swimming pools.

Troutbrook hopes to be part of the resurgence in this north district neighborhood as well. We hope that, as the year progresses, the community and City Planning will proactively work with property owners to create a locale that will have buildings that are architecturally distinct, designed to be sensitive to the environment and be witness to developments that incorporate amenities that will enjoyed by renters, homeowners and neighbors from surrounding communities.
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Title Annotation:INSIDE CONSTRUCTION & DESIGN
Comment:Gowanus: ready, willing and able for rezoning.(INSIDE CONSTRUCTION & DESIGN)
Author:Freud, Mark
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Apr 4, 2007
Words:734
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