Developer Plans Residential Project Along Gowanus Canal

GOWANUS – RFR Realty has enlisted the architectural firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) to draw up preliminary designs for a residential project along the Gowanus Canal, Crain’s New York reports.

175-225 3rd Street, Gowanus via Google Maps

The real estate firm purchased the three-acre parking lot located at 175-225 3rd Street, across the street from Whole Foods and adjacent to the Bat Cave, from SL Green and Kushner Companies for $115 million in April, The Real Deal reported at the time.

The site currently allows for 140,000 square feet of commercial development, according to Crain’s, however it is part of the Gowanus rezoning plan which means that the developer will likely be able to build a larger residential property on the lot overlooking the Canal.

The NYC Department of City Planning (DCP) released “Gowanus: A Framework for a Sustainable, Inclusive, Mixed-Use Neighborhood” in June, an outline created with the help of the community of potential goals and strategies for developing the area. 175-225 3rd Street falls within the framework’s “Mid-Canal” section (blocks south of Carroll Street and north of 4th Street) which the document recommends, “Allow[ing] residential development where it is prohibited today, at a medium to moderate density along the Canal and a higher density along 3rd Avenue to create new housing at a mix of incomes, including permanently affordable housing.”

From Gowanus Framework

However, some property owners have been arguing for increased FAR (floor area ratio) to allow them to build larger to help “offset” the high costs of developing along the Gowanus Canal, “such as flood protections, decontaminating polluted soil,” and contributing to the installation of a public promenade, Crain’s reported.

DCP is scheduled to release a Neighborhood Plan or draft rezoning proposal for Gowanus by the end of the year.

BIG has designed some high-end residential and office towers in Manhattan. RFR recently sold 90 Sands Street to Breaking Ground who will convert the 30-story building, located beside the Manhattan Bridge, into a residence for low-to-moderate income families and the formerly homeless. RFR purchased the property from the Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2017 for $135 million with plans to convert it into a boutique hotel.


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Pamela Wong

Pam was a staff reporter at Bklyner, covering North-Western parts of Brooklyn between 2016 and 2019. She also writes about art at


  1. That area was once Denton’s Mill Pond– a real pond. When the canal was constructed the edge of the bulkhead at this site was required to be at 7.5″ above mean high tide, and the land was graded to sloped up from the water’s edge in order to drain water from what was then called “the upland meadows”, now Park Slope on the east side. When the city laid the sewers for Park Slope, they didn’t reach this area because it was below the grade of the main sewer lines along 3rd and 4th Avenues.

    Any new buildings, especially those with heavy residential water uses will need to move sewage up to 3rd & 4th Ave. if it is to avoid new sewer overflow at the site. But getting waste water to the sewer on 4th Ave will increase sewer overflow at the CSO at the north end of 2nd Ave where Park Slope dumps sewage to prevent sewer backup in homes there. And it sounds like the DEP won’t have their sewer holding tank at 2nd Avenue for another 10-15 years.

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