Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

GL’s 2009 Brooklyn Deathwatch: Five Rotting Corpses???

December 31st, 2008 · 5 Comments

Last year, we went out on a limb and predicted the Gowanus Whole Foods project wouldn’t happen. It hasn’t. Yet. This year there are oh-so-many projects that one can predict will be scaled back or do the Dance of Death. Here are a few to chew on:

1. Atlantic Yards. We think there is a good chance most of the project will choke on its own excess, including the arena, because of the credit crunch. Unless, of course, Forest City Ratner succeeds in getting a taxpayer bailout to make it happen. If the arena does happen, we predict a crappy Prudential Center-like structure that would be built at half the cost of Frank Gehry’s work. So, maybe it’s not an entirely dead and rotting corpse, yet, but the thing is already on life support.

2. The New Domino. Although we hear rumors that there is financing for this multi-billion project on Kent Avenue in Williamsburg and the plan is to phase it in over a decade, we’re not looking for a groundbreaking. We think this one is sunk for some time to come. A project of this scope should never be approved by the city without required infrastructure to handle the population influx, but more important, who in their right minds would finance this Titanic of Residential Projects?

3. Toll Brothers Gowanus. The project will be approved, but never built. The firm’s finances are tanking and they will likely be among the ones looking for a government bailout. Who will finance a risky project on the Gowanus Canal? No one. Dead. Dead. Dead.

4. Public Place. It may be built, but not on the timetable that is being envisioned. National Grid will plead financial hardship on the cleanup and the city’s sea of red ink will help sink it. This one is a frighteningly toxic dead duck for years to come.

5. Gowanus Whole Foods. The firm is looking for a development partner and it will not build its store underground to avoid public review. Will anyone put financing together to develop this site in 2009? Will Whole Foods be in a position to open many new stores–especially high cost ones–in this deep recession? We’re skeptical. We’d bank on one in Williamsburg first.

Tags: 2008 Year in Review

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 mikki // Dec 31, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    I hope you’re right about Domino! Long live the sugar factory!

  • 2 JAY. // Dec 31, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    The Prudential Center is not at all crappy.

  • 3 D // Dec 31, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    Hey Brownstoner,
    What about Brooklyn Bridge Park? That has postponed written all over it.

  • 4 Jason Rowland // Jan 1, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    How typically negative. What about writing about 5 projects that will happen? Maybe top 5 affordable housing projects that will help provide some jobs and for the fogotten middle class?

  • 5 anon2 // Jan 1, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    We understand that Toll is in contract to buy the Gowanus site if they get their zoning change. It’s hard to imagine that they would put down that money on the land and not build. Contract price is still based on land value before the market change.

    The community must continue to stand strong against the granting of the Toll Zoning Change and not believe the markets will dismiss this monster from our community.

    There is the next step in the Toll re-zoning process is the City Planning Public Hearing taking place Jan 7th at 10am, Reede Street City Planning office