Coignet Building in a cocoon: Lonely little Gowanus landmark will emerge as white butterfly after renovation

Eye On Real Estate

April 16, 2014 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
That's the Coignet Building, concealed by construction netting. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
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A shroud has descended on Gowanus’ little lost landmark – the one that’s nearly engulfed by a neighboring Whole Foods store.
In recent days, workers covered the Coignet Building with black construction netting and a green-painted sidewalk shed, to further the recently started exterior renovation the upscale supermarket chain is funding.

Whole Foods is footing the bill because that’s the deal it made with the Coignet Building’s owner, Richard Kowalski, who sold Whole Foods the land flanking the landmark at the corner of Third Avenue and 3rd Street to construct its first Brooklyn location.
When the city Landmarks Preservation Commission-sanctioned rehab, which started last month, is finished, 1870s-vintage 360 Third Ave. will have an all-white facade that will look like granite blocks – which will be a visual shock to neighborhood habitues.

The building has been covered with red fake brick since the 1960s.

The real facade is historically significant. It is made of artificial stone, which is concrete. The city’s first known concrete building, it was built as the headquarters of the New York and Long Island Coignet Stone Company – which brought Francois Coignet’s process of manufacturing artificial stone to Brooklyn.

By the way, the interior makeover will depend on whoever buys or rents the building from Kowalski. It has been available for some time. The marketing sign his real estate brokers put up in front of the building is invisible now, hidden by the sidewalk shed.

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