Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Gowanus Whole Foods Taking Shape

Construction of the future Gowanus Whole Foods Market at 3rd Avenue and 3rd Street has progressed at a steady clip in the last few weeks. Crews have been busy driving long piles into the ground and the steel frame of the 56,000 s.f. organic market appears to be mostly completed.

Prior to construction, the approximately 2.15 acre site was remediated under the Brownfield Clean-Up Program under the supervision of the New York State Department Of Environmental Conservation. The work included excavation and disposal of soils impacted with contaminants, the removal of underground tanks, ground water monitoring, the installation of a soil cover consisting of several feet of new fill and a layer of gravel to cap the site.

 One can only hope that the remediation will not be affected by the construction work. After all, the long piles are being driven deep into the ground through the protective soil cap, which is meant to protect from residual contamination.
And there seems to be plenty of digging through the clean fill as evidenced by the photo below taken by Martin Bisi last week.

Whole Foods Gowanus -mounds of dirt
The Whole Foods site along 3rd Street. Photo taken by Martin Bisi

Now that the steel structure is almost completed, it has become evident how completely the new Whole Foods market will wrap around the historic Coignet building.
The landmarked structure, which shares the site with Whole Foods, was not part of the original land purchase.  However, under the sales agreement with owner, Richard Kowalski, of Beach Haven, N.J., Whole Foods agreed to restore and repair the old building. That work has yet to start.

In January 2012, despite objection of preservationists, Whole Foods was granted a special dispensation from the New York City Landmarks Law to reduce the size of the Coignet building lot from 125 feet to 55 feet on the 3rd Avenue side, and from 55 feet to 40 feet on the 3rd Street side.

Just recently, owner Kowalski has put the Coignet building up for sale or lease.


Anonymous said...

What a joke. No one will save that old building. Look how close the whole foods structure is to it? It has lost any integrity. Who's gonna rent it? Fotomat? Those old drive in photo kioskes? Or what ? That landlord is not holding up his agreement to restore it. Sad. Another loss of history.

Anonymous said...

Yes sad! And we have Landmarks and CB6 to hold accountable.

CB6 and the Landmarks commissions, who spend endless hours fussing over drawings of barely viable rear-yard constructions by private homeowners, allow this. They didn't even ask Whole Foods for one single drawing of what the big-box store would look like engulfing this Landmarked building. They made their landmark decision with blinders on and and it certainly says a lot about what their decisions are worth.

Anonymous said...

How can anyone be surprised by this?

Also, it must be said, the ONLY reason this was given 'landmark' status is because it's a SILLY building and one that, in the long, wide weird history of Brooklyn, does NOT deserve much consideration.

THAT's why Landmarks went along with it; you want to preserve THAT? Are you kidding? OK, sure.

Then all thirteen do-gooders who raised a ruckus about it while numerous other issues, historical and economic, went unattended disappeared so that we now have the worst of both worlds.

Whole Foods was, is and always will be crap so why not a silly stone products box next to it also?

I understand folks meant well but if they knew more about history they wouldn't have bothered.