Plans Aren’t Concrete, But Coignet Building Is Ready For a New Chapter

Gowanus's odd, appealing Coignet building.

Gowanus’s odd, appealing Coignet building.

The Coignet building—a classical structure executed in concrete at 360 Third Avenue in Gowanus—has had a strange allure since the day it was completed in 1873. An elegant mansion in the midst of an industrial zone, it served as both an office building and an advertisement for the material being manufactured in the factory complex behind it, deftly melding disparate elements in a fashion that passerby have long found beguiling.

But the building has languished, empty and deteriorating, for decades. Located on the edge of a vast lot that will soon be occupied by a Whole Foods, it is the lone remnant of the industrial landscape it once anchored. Now, there is a possibility that it may finally be restored and occupied, presiding not just over the neighborhood’s past, but playing a role in its future as well. The building’s owner—Richard Kowalski—has put the mansion on the market with Massey Knakal (a development first spotted by the blog Pardon Me for Asking). 285961