Gowanus tourism push stirs debate

GOWANUS - A debate is raging in Gowanas about whether the Brooklyn neighborhood should be transformed into a tourism hub.

The area?s makeover is being continued by a new hotel that will be wedged between two manufacturing shops at 611 Degraw St. Cathy Sheffer, who is visiting from Massachusetts, is staying at a nearby Comfort Inn.

?This is great, it?s easy to get to,? she says. ?I hope they put more hotels here.?

It?s a sentiment that may soon come to fruition. Three hotels have already sprouted up in the canal zone and six more are in the planning stages.

While some hotel managers in the area say the lodges are bringing business to the area, some residents say the kind of businesses that were the foundation of Gowanus are being pushed out.

?We can?t work here anymore, they?re pushing a lot of people out,? Brad Lander, who opposes plans for the tourism hub.

Landers is part of a group calling for a moratorium on new hotels in Gowanus, but developers have been resistant to the idea.

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