Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Final BSA Vote On Whole Foods Took 9 Seconds

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In the end, it only took 9 seconds...
This afternoon, NYC Board Of Standards And Appeals cast a unanimous 'yes' vote to grant Whole Foods a variance of the New York City's Zoning Resolution to build a 56,000 s.f. food store in an M2-1 zoning district.

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47 comments:

gowanusgirl said...

FANTASTIC news. I live in the Gowanus area and could not be happier.

gowanee said...

Awful news. I have lived in the Gowanus area for the past 30 years and could not be more bummed. Obviously there was some serious influence going on in teh back rooms.

fred said...

As said to Katia this afternoon: While the BSA was occupying the neighbors with whole food, they allow one of the most crappiest thing happening just across 3rd street.

www.brownstoner.com/blog/2011/04/development-wat-699/

Elise said...

Disgusting. Disheartening. Back room dealings.

Anonymous said...

Why did they even bother with all the to-and fro? They totally disregard the zoning, so why do we even bother to have it. And so it goes....

Anonymous said...

glad with the news!

Anonymous said...

I look forward to the arrival of Whole Foods and will shop there often. I never understood the rabid opposition. There are currently five concrete batching plants and two scrap metal recyclers along the canal. I recall the Red Hook Crushers on the property and the long lines of concrete rubble recyclers along Third Street. Whole Foods will be a welcome pleasure. Bravo!

Matthew said...

Good...can they get this show on the road now?

Anonymous said...

So this means the landmark building on the site will now be where the garbage dumpsters go??
This sucks. Yuppies rejoice. :( So, all that toxic flood water mixes with over priced produce. Bring it on. Long live the small fruit and vegetable stores.

Anonymous said...

Not such a horrible thing...was anyone else willing to deal with the polluted space and correct it? I think we'll all get through it just fine! It's a supermarket not a nuclear power plant

Dancing on your Grave said...

That's the end of the independent spirit. I'm moving. Y'all can have your hyper-development and big gluttonous superstore. You really don't know what you're in for ... slave wages and Monsanto, for starters.

Anonymous said...

Ironic that this news follows your interview with J&M and the need for areas like Gowanus that are zoned for industry. Whole Foods is not being put there to service the industries, but for residential visions. People who say they like Gowanus and want Whole Foods are talking out of both sides of their mouths.

Dancing on your Grave said...

Of course, the people who are rejoicing don't know all the details of why Whole Foods was opposed, they simply see the gold-plated jewel that Whole Foods poses as - let them have it. They don't know about all of the corruption and backroom deals that local politicians like Brad Landers was involved in and how these big entities keep crushing small local businesses, WalMart style. These people who rejoice are typical of the luxury-minded urban narcissist who only sees the short-term.

Let them eat genetically-modified organic cake. Brought to you by Whole Foods. And Exxon/Mobil. And WalMart. Naive...

Anonymous said...

"Our situation on this earth seems strange. Every one of us appears here involuntarily and uninvited for a short stay. Without knowing why."

—Albert Einstein

Katia said...

Very à propos. Thanks for posting this.

gowanusgirl said...

What small business is Whole Foods going to hurt? Take a walk down 3rd avenue, there are no mom & pop small businesses to buy food at anywhere NEAR Whole Foods. You forget that people actually do live around the Whole Foods site already. While I am not happy about the traffic implications, I am happy I can finally walk somewhere and get a decent piece of meat or fish and some good bread. There is room for both a grocery store and more manufacturing, take a look around - there are a LOT of for rent signs in the Gowanus.

Dancing on your Grave said...

Just off the top of my head, here are the businesses that will be significantly hurt by the Whole Foods presence:

1) Park Natural, Court St.
2) Santos Grocery, Court St.
3) Good Food, Court St.
4) Caputo's, Court St.
5 & 6) Met Food, Henry St. (and Smith St. - different owner)
7) Mastellone's, Court St.

and a whole bunch of smaller places.

Also, many places on the Park Slope side, on 4th avenue and on 5th avenue, etc., will be economically hurt by Whole Foods.

People don't seem to understand that the people who oppose Whole Foods have seen and have documented what Whole Foods and other mega-stores (like WalMart, Target, Costco, etc.) have done to damage small businesses around the country - and the world.

Anyone who thinks that this is not going to affect local businesses is terribly naive. Dangerously naive.

gowanusgirl said...

Please, those places are all in Carroll Gardens and are hardly going to be affected. If I were within walking distance to any of those places I may not be as happy as I am to have Whole Foods in the neighborhood. And by neighborhood, I don't mean Carroll Gardens. It seems that the most vocal opponents of this project are living in places where there are plenty of options for grocery shopping. You should take a walk over to 3rd and 4th avenue some time.

Sean said...

The Whole Foods market will not just be affecting the Gowanus neighborhood. Because of its enormous size and because of its false and perceived status as a "great place", it will suck the money out of many, many local places, including in Carroll Gardens and in Park Slope and elsewhere.

Be aware that the owner of Whole Foods also donates money to many right-wing and Republican groups and has recently begun a partnership with Monsanto, the exact opposite of the organic revolution.

Rich M said...

Please stop the insanity. Both Union Market and Trader Joes are packed all day long. So another option to purchase wholesome food and a place to park is always welcome. If any business is in trouble Id say its Pathmark which looks like the store that time forgot compared to the one on Atlantic Ave.

Gowanee said...

to gowanus girl, I am wondering why you are naming yourself that and want to see Whole Foods. There could not be anything more anti-Gowanus than this intrusive, wrong-headed vision. I have lived in Gowanus for 30 years, I fled from Soho (even though my rent was only $250 a month for 1500 sq ft there) because I absolutely hated what it started to become. Well, I see that same direction upon us in Gowanus. I don't mind walking a bit to get my groceries - I love not being close to commercial places. I love being surrounded by thriving, yes, thriving industry. What makes you a gowanus girl? Sounds oh so too cute and oh so too hip.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention the farmers market up the block on 5th Ave. This store will service people with cars.

Anonymous said...

Chances are "Gowanus Girl's" parents couldn't get her a place off 8th Ave so she lives in of the new gigantic buildings on 4th Ave and never walks past her subway entrance. that's peopbaly unfair but Whole Foods has become a characterless, upappetizing hypermarket. it was novel in Los Angeles where it was spawned and worked. its not a place I like, personally, and will never step foot inside.

Not in My Back Yard said...

I wonder if WF is really going to take this huge gamble, yes, gamble. The canal is still a CSO - meaning crap, literally, gets into the water every time the sewers can't handle the quantity and it ends up in the canal. Not a very savory sight. Whole Foods will become a laughing stock. I see the photos now -and I am sure that people will be taking those photos and spreading them around for great visibility - these days of the internet are wonderful that way. If I sound like a WF hater, yes I am. And I am not alone, mark my word. This is an inappropriate place for a supposedly healthy food store. This exposes WF for what they really are. Opportunists. There will be backlash - and it will be of their own making. People with cars - Fairway is in a beautiful setting. They have a better reputation, and better prices, too.

gowanusgirl said...

I am someone who has lived in Brooklyn for almost 15 years, has worked hard to save money to buy a place to raise my family and was priced out of the neighborhood I loved (Carroll Gardens). We moved to the Gowanus and are very happy here. I agree with the pro-business people from the Gowanus Alliance that Whole Foods is a good addition to the neighborhood. The reality is that people are moving to Brooklyn in record numbers, this is a reflection of that, like it or not. We are not going to change each other's minds, so I will step away.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Gowanus Girl would have loved to have a Whole Foods, or other market, on 4th Avenue for an easy walk. Too bad she didn't make a push for a better plan like that. She will now get to contend with a hike to 3rs street which she will have to share with the concrete delivery trucks and thousand of car-owning outsiders taking up the cross walks.
It's so obvious that Whole Foods should be on 4th Ave. BSA should have sent them back to the drawing board rather than rolling over and playing dead.

CG Fam before St. Agnes was here said...

Just a thought:

Why the problem with the re-zoning from Industrial to Retail. Shouldn't we be happy about this?

Do you want a zinc processing plant, a chemical industry or other major polluter to come to this site
Or... don't we all recall that we wanted the area cleaned-up? We didn't want more waste to get dumped into the Gowanus, did we?

If we don't start making some exceptions for cleaner businesses then what will we get with Industrial Zoning?

Granted, the store could have been a little smaller to allow for more parking --- The 200+ spots noted won't be enough when they get deliveries by Tracker Trailer Truck that will take-up about 10 spots each, on average.

But it's still a good thing - besides whoever already buys his meat at Good Foods will never switch to a supermarket - they were (and almsot still are) a REAL Butcher that happens to sell groceries, too.

To the poster who noted Fairway - most of their produce is from out of state and on several occassions theri butcher has given me BAD meat. Not old, not tough - BAD, spolied, rotten and tried to pass it off

Anonymous said...

To the folk who seem to think that no businesses will be affected: There are scores of small businesses that need space, but are not supported by the politics of the city. They do not have the mega funds that someone like Whole Foods is able to throw around. Instead of slapping superstores into our small scale neighbourhoods, why not support a slew of smaller, more local outfits? All that money spent in backroom dealings could have been spent to invigorate the area. Instead of gargantuan parking lots, why not bring in pedestrian traffic, which comes with with small businesses? Does anyone even care that Whole Foods is basically a rather EXPENSIVE store, which many people who live local, who are our neighbours and friends are unable to even shop at? Another one for gentrification, and politicking. Sickening.

mirabai said...

Nobody has mentioned Park Slope Co-op. It seems they have been doing a very good job of truly affordable high quality fresh food. It does seem daunting to join as there are very few open slots for registration, but those who are members seem quite satisfied. Why the quiet?

Madge said...

WF, IF built, will not affect the Park Slope Food Coop negatively. I have been a member for many years, and there is no way I would drop the Coop for WF. Every time I shop there, I am always amazed by how much I get for what I spend. On the few occasions I have gone to WF in Manhattan, I am always amazed by how little I get for what I spend. You do the math. Anyone who is happy being a Coop member, who is looking at their pocket books, would not think WF is appealing enough to switch. Any membership drop because of WF would only make the store more navigable on weekends.

Sean said...

That's funny that Gowanus Girl, who appropriated a Native American name she seems to not know the origin of, is mentioning the Gowanus Alliance, which is only a group directed by and decided upon by developers and big money people - the Gowanus Alliance is not in this neighborhood for anything other than big profits. And Whole Foods is just that.

This is why these comments are important, because so many people, including residents who claim to have lived here for many years, just don't know all of the facts. And very often facts are kept cloaked and not available to most people, including all of these residents who bark so loudly about what a great thing Whole Foods will be, without knowing all of the reality.

But then again, this battle is symbolic of what is happening all over our country, where uninformed Americans are voting against their own interests, because they don't have the facts or because they don't take the time to research all of the truth.

Sean said...

@CG Fam/St. Agnes:

Industrial zoning in the Gowanus has nothing to do with zinc or any of your other fears. There are other industries besides chemicals.

And we already have WAY too much retail in the area.

One of the ways out of the economic woes is to bring back manufacturing and real industry to our cities and elsewhere.

Some of you really need to think a little before you make these ill-advised comments that are simply playing into your own and others' fears. These are important issues and if you don't know all of the details, ask questions before you make comments that are not moving the issue forward and are simply confusing everyone reading these comments.

Margaret said...

Well said, Sean.

Albert Einstein said...

"Our situation on this earth seems strange. Every one of us appears here involuntarily and uninvited for a short stay. Without knowing why."

- Albert Einstein.

Anonymous said...

What retail is in that area? It's a no man's land...

11215 said...

@sean
i think you're giving the gowanus alliance too much credit, they are hardly the toll brothers. more like local contractors/developers trying to do things for the neighborhood. they're trying to revitalize 3rd avenue - talking to neighbors about using their storefront spaces for small businesses instead of apartments, cleaning up the local park, getting trash cans and trees planted, all of which i think are good things. and every small manufacturer around here seems to be listed on their website as supporters.

http://www.brownstoner.com/blog/2011/10/the-hot-seat-paul-basile/

Margaret said...

@11:51 It's not a no man's land - not even close. Have you ANY idea how much industry is thriving in Gowanus? I once gave a tour, and it was amazing. And many of the industry people I interviewed were fearful of the area becoming gentrified - we need the kind of zoning we have in Gowanus to protect what is vital to economic stability and growth in this country. We don't need a WF (What the F***)there, when there are plenty of places where WF can go that it did not need a variance for. That corner is inappropriate for a food store that claims it is healthy. That is one of the stinkiest spots for l'eau de Gowanus! Also, your mindset seems to be that retail is the end all and be all of a civilization. WRONG!!!!

Anonymous said...

@Margaret
I mean "retail", not industrial. I am aware of the fact that there is a lot of industrial manufacturing and warehouse space there. There is not a lot of retail space over there, along 3rd Avenue.

Greta said...

There is ten million tons of retail on the Park Slope side and on the Carroll Gardens side and on 4th Ave. and all over the place in South Brooklyn.

Where did you get the cock-eyed idea that Gowanus needs to be a bustling retail zone anyway? Too much retail. Way too much. Please.

Cracker Jack thinking - right out of a Cracker Jack box.

Anonymous said...

The gowanus redevelopment will happen in spite of all your opinions and or ideas. Some horrible self storage just popped up on 3rd and 3rd - thanks for being anti everything - obstructionism is non constuctive and private market forces and property owners will control their own destiny and hundred of millions to a billion will be spent to clean a canal flanked by crap - we mine as well leave the crap flowing in it -

Elise said...

I have absolutely no problem with the self-storage that just opened up on 3rd Ave. Very nice people And they are working within the zoning, are they not? The man I spoke to from the storage place was extremely well informed about the history of the neighborhood - Coignet, what was once the baseball field across the street. Who says that anti-WF people are against repurposing, redevoppemnt. Is all you think of when you hear development condos? Then you have a very narrow view of what it takes to create a working society. I am sure that storage building serves a needed function in the community.

Korla said...

The people rabidly against WF are so because a large number of Park Slope denizens are ardent socialists, and the owner of WF made some kind of anti-union comment a while back. They are also hyper-defensive about their beloved Food Co-op, which is the biggest hive of commies this side of the Berlin Wall. And WF will take away some of the suckers who currently put in their hours at the food co-op, doing make-work, walking people home with 1 bag of groceries, and voting on constant motions to boycott Israel.

Sean said...

Korla (and anyone in fear) -

You obviously don't know what you're talking about and the fact that you would call anyone a "commie" just goes to prove that the people in favor of "development" of the Gowanus Canal area and those in favor of Whole Foods are largely fearful and living in the mindset that market forces regulate themselves.

Market forces do not regulate themselves - market forces are guided by COMMUNITIES and by LEGISLATION. Left to their own devices, market forces will chew up everything in sight, like termites. If you have any doubts, go to one of the many local libraries and do some research on economics and the history of U.S. economic policy.

PS Food Coop Lover said...

Korla, by your derogatory remarks about the Food Coop, I assume you are not a member. I am glad - because you sound like you might be real bummer energy. Yes, sometimes I do get walked home with my one bag of groceries. It gets too heavy for me to carry, and I really appreciate that there are workers who do this workslot. We always have interesting conversations, my walkers and me - about all kinds of things, including recipes, how we love OUR Coop (it's member-owned - the largest in the country). If the world was run like the Coop was run, I think it would be a much happier and healthy place. I have purposely done all kinds of shifts to get a glimpse of how it operates mostly by membership work. It is fascinating - and extremely efficient.

J. Jacobs said...

PS Food Co-op Lover -

You are right on the money. The Co-op is an example of a real COMMUNITY organization that sets the bar very high, so high that many people, especially in this country, are intimidated. And afraid. Just like real intimacy.

We're dealing with puritans and philistines, by the way. They need to time to catch up.

In the U.S., if real community actually occurs, the "patriots" (whatever that means) start yelling "socialist!" and "commie!" (As if they ever knew anything about either structural concept!)

Did anyone notice Glenn Beck attacking the Co-op the other day, from Brooklyn no less. He was upset about something. As usual. Any opportunity to attack and discredit someone.

So you see what kind of people we're dealing with when they begin attacking the principles that make the world a better place - COMMUNITY. Working TOGETHER. A COMMON GOAL.

Margaret said...

to J. Jacobs - "hear, hear!" (about the PSFC) I love the little aside about (fear of) real intimacy. Yes, I think the people who love the Coop love community and people. And you are right about the bar being set very high there - in all kinds of ways. Just looking at that produce aisle tells you what an amazing job Alan Zimmerman, our produce buyer, does! Alan and Amy Hawthorne of Hawthorne farms look at seed catalogs to discuss crops that might be good to grow. Amy, when she sends her produce to the Coop, does not even put a price on it, knowing that Alan will give a fair market price. She said that the Coop is to thank for her farms doing so well. So our community includes relationships with farmers! As for our success - I have met members from all boroughs, NJ, and upstate. People come from far and wide to be part of our beloved Coop.

Sean said...

It's too bad how little some of the longtime residents sometimes seem to know about how things really operate around here and the drawbacks to overdevelopment or too much retail. Either that or they're just turning a blind eye.

I hope that the character and the flavor of the Gowanus is not sacrificed on the altar of unbridled commerce. It is important to preserve what's left.