Gowanus Jam-Up

While condo conversions of industrial buildings are all the rage, Brooklyn Community Board 6 took a stand against the latest attempt at gentrification in the Gowanus neighborhood last night at its full board meeting, denying a variance for 255 Butler Street, at the corner of Nevins.

The planned $27 million development would create 53 market-rate apartment units in the 90,000 square foot building, owned by Nathan and Benjamin Akkad, at the foot of the Gowanus Canal. Currently, the Akkads are moving their business to facilities in Red Hook, leaving the Butler Street building empty.

Community Board 6 district manager Craig Hammerman told The Real Estate that the board ultimately rejected the application because it didn’t meet several criteria necessary under the city zoning code to gain a variance: The developers’ hardship claim was suspected of being self-imposed; there was no genuine effort to find an as-of-right use for the property; and the building wasn’t unique in its design and zoning.

While the community board’s vote is merely advisory, it carries great weight with the Board of Standards and Appeals, which will make a final decision on the variance request. The hearing has not yet been calendared.

-Matthew Grace