The Coignet building is finally showing its true colors.
The original gray facade of the historic Gowanus edifice is visible for the first time in decades, now that workers have stripped away a red brick veneer that had shrouded the landmarked building since the 1960s.
Construction crews are still in the process of restoring the structure at Third Avenue and Third Street back to its former glory, but recently removed some of the scaffolding from the second floor, Brownstoner first reported, revealing a sneak peak of the original concrete walls, which are more than 140 years old.
Whole Foods Market has been rehabilitating the crumbling structure as part of its deal with the city to build its fancy food market next door. The Gowanus Whole Foods opened its own doors in December 2013, but the company did not start work on the Coignet building until March 2014 — after the Landmarks Preservation Commission threatened the upscale grocery giant with a $3,000 fine, and neighbors claimed the supermarket’s construction created a big crack in the historic structure’s walls.
The former New York and Long Island Coignet Stone Company headquarters may have been the first concrete building in the city when it was built in 1873. Park Slope real estate tycoon Edwin Clark Litchfield moved his office there in 1882, and his Brooklyn Improvement Company remained there until 1957, according to the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The Coignet building was abandoned in the ’60s, and has remained empty ever since. The city designated it a landmark in 2006.