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City selects green Gowanus developer

By Craig Bromberg

Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal is going green—Gowanus Green, to be precise. And the winning development is a consortium of companies helmed by the Hudson Companies Inc.

After a lengthy process that pit Hudson’s bid against a competing team led by the Related Cos., the Department of Housing Preservation and Development announced on Wednesday that it had awarded the mixed-use development to the Gowanus Green Partnership, a consortium consisting of the Hudson Cos., Bluestone Organization, Fifth Avenue Committee and the Jonathan Rose Cos. According to the announcement, the bid will create 774 units of mixed-income housing, nearly 80% of which will be affordable housing for low- and middle-income families, including 120 units of low-income senior housing.

Located at the southeast corner of 5th and Smith streets and bounded to the east by the Gowanus Canal, Public Place, as the development will be known, will feature over “25,000 square feet of cultural space, 38,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and nearly 100,000 square feet of public open space located along the canal,” according to the HPD. “The canal-side park, in addition to landscaped waterfront space for passive and active recreation, will feature arts and educational programming and significant recreational opportunities for the surrounding community.”

The former home of a gas manufacturing plant, the Public Place site is said to be extensively polluted and is therefore considered a key test of Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC sustainability efforts, as well as the New Housing Marketplace Plan—a ten-year proposal to create affordable housing for 500,000 New Yorkers. Reclamation of “brownfields” is a major component of PlaNYC, acting to both “create” new land for needed development and improve the environmental quality of the surrounding neighborhoods. Several of the buildings are slated to apply for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) Gold designation and the overall development is being designed to qualify for the LEED Neighborhood Development program.

The project is expected to be financed in part through t city’s Housing Development Corp., as well as through subsidies from the New York City Housing Trust Fund. Construction is expected to begin in spring 2010 and will be completed in spring 2014.

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