Whole-y foods! Stalled Gowanus grocery back in action

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

The long-delayed Whole Foods supermarket along the fetid Gowanus Canal showed some signs of life this month, as developers filed state paperwork that raised expectations that the controversial project will actually be built.

The upscale grocer submitted an environmental application on Feb. 9 to build a 77,000-square-foot store with a three-level, 414-car garage on the wetlands that make up its three-acre tract near the corner of Third Avenue and Third Street.

Originally, Whole Foods intended to open its first Brooklyn store in 2008, but the project has been beset by problems, including the discovery of toxins in the soil.

In an effort to kickstart construction, company executives searched last fall for an outside developer to partner with them, no one has signed on yet.

The chief complaint about Whole Foods’ blueprints has been the size of the parking lot, which residents fear will swamp nearby streets with thousands of extra cars per day.

“It could be a great thing, but they seem hung up on a totally suburban model,” said Eric McClure, a member of Park Slope Neighbors. McClure said the group “remains opposed to the vast number of parking spaces they’re projecting.”

However, the appeal of the popular supermarket continues to stir interest among its devoted shoppers about the fate of the embattled location next to the Gowanus Canal.

The paperwork that Whole Foods quietly filed with the state Department of Environmental Conservation triggered a public comment period that ends on March 6.

Updated 5:11 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

j mork from p hts says:
Parking lots are anti-urban.
Feb. 26, 2009, 10:24 am
bill from sp says:
what are we supposed to do, ride our bikes?
Feb. 26, 2009, 12:50 pm
fran from flatbush says:
i'll still be going to fairway...whole foods is overpriced and overrated
Feb. 26, 2009, 12:51 pm
j. mork from p hts says:
Bill -- absolutely. It's a city. Bike, walk, take transit and an occasional taxi. And, when you're visiting the rest of America, drive.
Feb. 26, 2009, 3:16 pm
clev from park slope says:
I really hope they build it already! It'll raise my property value!
And they have a great cheese selection. yum nummy
Feb. 26, 2009, 3:22 pm
mike from cg says:
Bill - riding a bike is a great idea!
Feb. 26, 2009, 3:26 pm
Joe from Borough Park says:

Move back to Manhattan, the Midwest or wherever else from which you are a refugee. Park Slope by itself could not support a Whole Foods.

Did it ever occur to you that people need cars to transport all the groceries for their families? Take a look at the Fairway parking lots some time.
Feb. 26, 2009, 3:54 pm
Larry from cg says:
This week the Mayor's office also made a press release on Climate Change Report: "Annual precipitation is also projected to increase by 5 to 10 percent, and sea levels to rise by 12 to 23 inches. Recent evidence, however, including accelerated ice melt in Greenland and Antarctica, suggests that sea levels could rise at a faster rate than projected by the existing models – potentially to 41 to 55 inches by the end of the century."

What does this have to do with Whole Foods ion the Gowanus? With only enough zoning to build 10,000 square feet above grade, the bulk of this store is designed to be a legal cellar. The Gowanus site is in the FEMA flood plane, and that cellar will sit down in the swamp land that is Gowanus. No wonder it took them more than 2 years to complete their wetland permit applications--it must be tricky to figure ways around building a large structure down in the swamp. Oh well, FEMA can always help them bail out.
Feb. 26, 2009, 5:50 pm
Jabir Ibn Hayyan from Park Slope says:
Joe from Borough Park,

Thanks for the tips. We here in Park Slope would like to offer a few in return:

(o) Get yourself a folding, wheeled shopping cart.
(o) WALK to your local grocer and bring your folding cart with you. Your local businesses need your support!
(o) If they don't carry what you want, talk to them about what you'd like to see. (Hint: don't tell them to go back to some foreign country...)
(o) Join or form a CSA and support your local foodshed.

You really don't have to have a car and drive halfway across the borough just to find food.
Feb. 26, 2009, 8:34 pm
Deathstroke from Downtown says:
The great thing about cars is that they can run over all the pussies on bikes.
Feb. 26, 2009, 10:03 pm
Deathstroke from Downtown says:
...and for running over ugly old people and kids.
Feb. 26, 2009, 10:29 pm
j mork from p hts says:

I'm sure that WF will deliver and for a lot less than the cost of owner and operating a car.

Deathstroke -- good point. Cars are violent (40,000 deaths a year) and they seem to have a tendency to bring out violent urges in people. Which is a good reason why they don't belong in cities.

Another good reason is because there's simply not enough space for everyone to have a car, and yet we reward the few who want to take advantage of them by giving them most of our public space.
Feb. 27, 2009, 11:01 am
hector from sunset park says:
I hate cars and the selfish people who own them and drive and park them in my city. Wah wah my —— hurts and its raining out too.

Whole Foods will make a killing here. Their equation for finding store locations is pretty ingenious.
Feb. 27, 2009, 12:45 pm
Jabir Ibn Hayyan from Park Slope says:
Whole Foods could build a store anywhere in Brooklyn and make a killing.

But you're right, it is particularly ingenious to select a spot that is both a toxic waste site AND will require the store to be built partly below sea level!
Feb. 27, 2009, 1:28 pm
Peter Simone from CG says:
I guess we have our own different reasons for wanting or not wanting this project to be built.....I'm personally looking forward for this....!!!! PS
Feb. 27, 2009, 5:49 pm
iheartbk from Gowanus says:
When I asked Whole Foods about this via Twitter the response was: "Store in development list is projection for the next 2 years. We plan on building in Brooklyn, but it won't be til after 2011."
Feb. 28, 2009, 12:25 am
rachel from park slope says: - a great solution for organic grocery shopping without a vehicle. awesome products and the best customer service online. swear.
March 3, 2009, 2:45 pm
Sue from Park Slope says:
Why is everyone so militant about car ownership? This is a democracy. Walk, ride or bike - it's your choice. Brooklyn needs additional quality shopping venues. For those of you who have never lived outside of NYC, there are actually clean, well stocked supermarkets out there with ample parking for those who wish to drive.
March 4, 2009, 11:50 am
j mork from p hts says:
Sue --

Check out Donald Shoup's book _The High Cost of Free Parking_. The first chapter is here:
March 4, 2009, 2:36 pm

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: