Many doubted it since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in March named the Gowanus Canal a federal Superfund site. But it’s official: Whole Foods Market is coming to Brooklyn, at 3rd Avenue and 3rd Street.
The company announced the move Monday after some months of speculation. When the EPA first announced a $300 to $500 million, 12-year Superfund cleanup this Spring, a Whole Foods representative indicated to The Brooklyn Paper that the high-end, healthy food store would not move to the Gowanus area, due to the additional cost and requirements of cleanup there. The company retracted their story. And now, Whole Foods has announced they are developing their property near the Gowanus.
The Whole Foods property was formerly auto repair shops and warehouses.
According to the Whole Foods press release, the property “has now been fully cleaned and remediated under the strict guidelines of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s brownfield program and is ready to return to a positive, productive, job-creating and community service use.”
The new store will be 52,000 square feet, about 25 percent smaller than what was proposed before the Superfund designation, the press release says. The new design features 248 parking spaces, instead of the 430 originally proposed. Environmentalists at a Gowanus meeting Monday night indicated a hope that the parking lot would be constructed to contain storm water runoff from further aggravating the overflow in the canal during storms.
The new mega store will have nice features. The parking lot will feature recharging stations for electric powered vehicles, and bike parking. In addition, it’ll feature a 20,000 square-foot greenhouse on the roof that will grow organic produce.
The two-story, 19th century brick building at the corner of Third Avenue and Third Street will remain in place, and is not owned by Whole Foods. The store will be built around the existing building.
The release says the store will create 350 jobs, 70 percent are expected to be full-time positions.