Whole-y foods! Stalled Gowanus grocery back in action

Whole Foods needs a partner on Gowanus job
Not much work has been done at Whole Foods' Third Avenue site — but that could change soon.

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.

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