The manufacturing-zoned east bank of the Gowanus Canal is an island of industrial activity deep in Brownstone Brooklyn. Originally home to building materials suppliers, utilities, and energy companies that supported the development of adjacent residential neighborhoods, the area has retained its industrial core despite regional trends of residential conversion. The impulse toward conversion may have been forestalled by the legacy of environmental contamination left by early industrial tenants. In recent years, Superfund designation of the canal and rumors about possible re-zoning have focused attention on Gowanus’ future and created uncertainty in its real estate market.
The BOA study, led by Starr Whitehouse, is closely examining current conditions in Gowanus to create a cohesive and contextual strategy for local economic development. Grounded in community workshops, local business surveys, interviews with property owners, and partnerships with federal, state, and local government and nonprofits, the BOA will lay out a plan for strengthening and supporting local industrial and manufacturing business. The finished study will be action-oriented, identifying key sites for investment, a set of policy initiatives, a range of state and local incentives, and infrastructure improvements.