A luxury development grows in Brooklyn on one of the most polluted waterways in the country. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.
Industrial lots, discarded old tires and graffiti line the banks of the polutted Gowanus Canal. But now, a shiny new building standing 12 stories high is bringing housing to the area with a public waterfront esplanade.
"The idea here is that this will be what Brooklyn Bridge Park is, or Hudson Waterfront Park or Williamsburg Waterfront Park," said Scott Avram, senior vice president of Lighstone Group.
The developer Lighstone says building 365 Bond Street as luxury rental apartment living here is a pioneering move. It comes after the canal was declared a federal Superfund site in 2010 because of its hazardous water conditions. The federal government will spend some $500 million to clean up the contamination over the coming years.
But Lightstone points to the progress already made, like a pumping station.
"It's probably one of the last waterfront redevelopments in the city," Avram said. "And we looked at it more as an opportunity, when in the past, people thought of it as more of a butt of a joke."
No joke. Rents start at $2,000 a month and climb to $10,000. There are townhouses and lots of ammenities, inlcuding gyms and yoga rooms that look out at the canal, rooftop barbecue spaces, sundecks and plenty of lounges.
"You have over 40,000 square feet of ammenities, and a lifestyle director and full concierge service at your disposal," Avram says.
There are 430 apartments here, with 20 percent set aside as affordable. The building opened in March and is already 70 percent occupied.
"We just moved here from Manhattan, and we absolutely love it," said one person in the building.
And the polluted waterway?
"I wasn't aware of it until I moved here, and now that I do know about it, I was a bit concerned, especially with a newborn. But everything seems to be fine," said one resident.
The second phase of this project, 363 Bond Street, is expected to be completed this spring. That will bring a total of 700 rental apartments.
Lightstone predicts the success of this residential project will lead to rezoning and development up and down the two-mile canal stretch, turning the area into a destination.