The goal of the Gowanus Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) Nomination is to develop a community-supported strategy to reuse and redevelop under-used properties in the Gowanus area. The State's BOA program is unique in supporting a cohesive, neighborhood-scale approach to economic redevelopment, with a goal of establishing effective revitalization strategies that turn dormant and blighted parcels into productive, catalytic properties. Completion of the BOA process results in a menu of development options, with community-identified strategic sites, redevelopment priorities, and policy solutions. Partnerships between community representatives and city and state agencies that evolve during the project ensure that the resulting strategies are well understood and supported at different levels of government.
The Nomination produced an in-depth and thorough description and analysis of existing conditions, opportunities, and reuse potential for properties located in the study area (see report links below. Chosen by Friends of Brooklyn Community Board 6 as the study area for this Nomination, the two sub-areas were identified by the Department of City Planning in their Gowanus Canal Corridor Framework and subsequent rezoning proposal as areas intended to retain their existing manufacturing zoning. Accordingly, the Nomination anticipates that these areas will retain their primary function as centers of industrial and commercial activity, and will work to create a compatible strategy for redevelopment.
Within the framework of industrial and commercial use, the BOA Nomination considered a wide range of options that can contribute to the revitalization of the study area. The process begins with data collection and analysis: economic and market conditions, physical conditions, known environmental conditions, utility and transportation infrastructure, etc. Understanding of existing conditions in the sub-areas will be deepened by key information that can only be provided by community members: stakeholders will augment and deepen the study team's work; a survey of industrial businesses will collect information about company trends, locational decisions, supportiveness of the neighborhood for business, and green business practices; additional interviews with non-industrial businesses will explore Gowanus's suitability for a range of enterprises.
The Gowanus Canal is both a potential amenity for local businesses and a sensitive environmental feature whose incipient cleanup is the focus of local, state, and federal attention. Work on the Nomination will be coordinated with the EPA’s efforts, to ensure that strategies for the area's revitalization do not conflict with ongoing cleanup plans.
The BOA program is intended to forge consensus among community members regarding as-of-right redevelopment. While Friends of Brooklyn Community Board 6 has contracted a team of consultants to conduct research and analysis, support the work of the community, and create written recommendations and the final Nomination report, major decisions will vest with stakeholders. A stakeholder group representing established community groups that focus on Gowanus, public utilities that own land in the sub-areas, and relevant government agencies will set the vision and goals for the study, contribute knowledge and expertise to the consultant team's understanding of the area, and ultimately help determine strategic sites and redevelopment priorities.