GOWANUS — The formerly contaminated land that's home to a residential high-rise overlooking the Gowanus Canal has been given a clean bill of health by state officials.
The state's Department of Environmental Conservation announced Oct. 30 that developer Lightstone Group has completed an environmental cleanup at 365 Bond St., the rental complex scheduled to open this winter.
"The site is 100 percent clean, it's 100 percent safe, and it's been certified as such,” said Lightstone's senior vice president of development, Scott Avram. "There are no contaminants and no environmental risk, and it's ready for people to occupy."
Lightstone cleaned up the former industrial site as part of the state's Brownfield Cleanup Program, which gives developers tax breaks in exchange for cleaning and then developing polluted land.
The spot where Lightstone is building 365 Bond St. was once an oil terminal and was also used as a warehouse for building materials, an auto-body shop and a dry-cleaning facility, according to the DEC.
Decades of industrial use dating back to 1866 left a host of contaminants in the soil, including lead, arsenic, mercury and benzo(a)pyrene, a chemical that may be linked to increased cancer risk when it's present in drinking water, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
To rid the ground of contaminants, Lightstone hired environmental engineers to remove the polluted soil from the site, then put a protective "cap" between the new building and the remaining dirt. Such caps can be made of concrete, clean soil or other material; Avram didn't know exactly what was used at 365 Bond St.
Going forward, DEC will monitor buildings on the site for possible contamination, the agency said when it announced completion of the cleanup. The department did not respond to a request for further comment.
Lightstone expects to finish 365 Bond St. within the next few months, Avram said. Construction is still under way at 363 Bond St., a high-rise next door that was once part of the same residential development as 365 Bond.
Lightstone sold 363 Bond St. for $75 million to New Jersey-based developer Atlantic Realty Development in September. The land at 363 Bond St. is also undergoing an environmental cleanup under the state's Brownfield program. Atlantic Realty Development Corp. did not respond immediately to a request for comment Wednesday.
The 430-unit building at 365 Bond St. will have 86 apartments — including $833 studios — reserved for low-income renters. The city recently started accepting applications for a lottery that will dole out the apartments.
Both 363 and 365 Bond St. are on the banks of the Gowanus Canal, one of the dirtiest waterways in America. Industrial businesses that once lined the canal used it as a dumping ground for toxic waste for decades, and raw sewage regularly flows into the canal. The EPA declared the canal a Superfund site in 2010 and is expected to embark on a $506 million cleanup there in 2017.