Sewer overflow tank construction forces Gowanus business to close

Posted: Updated:

A business owner in Gowanus will soon be forced to move out due to a new sewer overflow tank that is being built by the city.

The Department of Environmental Protection is building two combined sewage overflow tanks in the neighborhood in compliance with the federal government's effort to clean up the contaminated Gowanus Canal. One tank will be located near the Fourth Street basin, the other in the area of Nevins Street.

Three properties are being acquired by eminent domain, including the century-old Sanitation Repairs building at 234 Butler St., which many say is a staple in the community.

"I'm very upset that I have to leave this community. I've grown up here," says Sanitation Repairs owner Salvatore Tagliavia. "I've seen a change and it's a beautiful community, and what the city's doing is basically bullying everybody to move out so they can take over the property for what they feel they want to use it for."

The city acquired the properties last October. The businesses located where the tanks will be installed have until June 30 to relocate.

Tagliavia says he's having a hard time moving to a new location because the city has not given the business money to make the move happen.

The DEP says in a statement: "A $36 million advance payment was made to the owner of 234 Butler St. in March. In addition, the city has retained the services of Cornerstone, a prominent relocation firm, to assist the tenants in finding alternative spaces. Once the tenants find new space, they will be entitled to reimbursement for moving and related expenses by the city."

The DEP adds that while an advance payment was made, a final sale price has not yet been determined.

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