A Lighthouse on the Gowanus: New Developer Taking Over Toll’s Abandoned Superfund Site

Back from the toxic dead.

In 2004, just as Brooklyn was becoming a thing, McMansion developers Toll Brothers set their sites on an unusual location in the middle of the borough: the banks of the Gowanus Canal, one of the most heavily polluted corners of the city. After the public review process concluded, the plan was impeded by an unprecedented obstacle: the EPA announced it was adding the Gowanus canal to its Superfund list. And that’s when the Toll Brothers decided to scrap the plans.

But yesterday, Browstoner revealed a new development in the story, hearing that a rather unknown firm, The Lightstone Group, has intentions to take over the Toll Brothers site and build 700 new apartments there. The group approached district manager Craig Hammerman and now plans to meet with the board in the fall to divulge its plans.

At the time, Mr. Hammerman said the group might be seeking more allowances that would require a second ULURP hearing, but questions abound. “What we’ve heard so far raises a lot of questions,” he conceded. “And right now we have an information vacuum that we can hopefully fill with facts.”

Today, Brownstoner helped clear up some of those questions. The developers will not seek a second ULURP, they plan to develop the site by the constraints already approved for zoning in the Toll Brothers. There will be minor modifications merely requiring a City Planning Commission review.

Based on prior approvals, the height will be 12 stories (at the maximum). The project is expected to begin by the end of next year.

It will take a minimum of 10 years to clean-up the Gowanus Canal and clear it of its Superfund status. However, Lightstone publicity representative Ethan Geto told Brownstoner, the construction schedule “has nothing to do with the timetable of the Gowanus Superfund site.”

Gives a whole new meaning to someone calling your apartment a dump. A Lighthouse on the Gowanus: New Developer Taking Over Toll’s Abandoned Superfund Site