Whole Foods to finally begin construction on its Bklyn store in Gowanus

Site preparation is finally underway and construction will begin this fall on the Whole Foods Market at 3rd Street and 3rd Avenue in Gowanus, according to Michael Sinatra, public affairs manager for Whole Foods’ Northeast Region.

“Once the site preparation is complete, we anticipate beginning work on the foundation in late fall, with the store’s steel frame expected to start going up around the beginning of the year,” said Sinatra in a memo to Community Board 6, which was sent to the Eagle yesterday. 

“Construction will then move ahead steadily toward our expected fall 2013 grand opening. We couldn’t be more excited to finally be poised to bring Whole Foods Market to the borough’s residents.”

Following are some of the other items updated in the memo:

• Remediation/brownfields cleanup: The firm has received its official “certificate of completion” from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, which means “the site is completely and officially remediated and ready for construction,” according to Sinatra.

• Renovations to Long Island Coignet Stone Building: Whole Foods  architects are currently working on drawings for the renovation of the façade, which will then need to be approved by city landmarks officials.  Once approved, exterior repairs to the building will begin.  “It’s important to note that while this building will be repaired and remain adjacent to our property, we do not actually own the building and it will not be utilized by Whole Foods Market,” said Sinatra.

• Reflections of the community: The Gowanus store will feature local products made from some of Brooklyn’s most noted artisanal producers, including Brooklyn Brine, Sixpoint Brewery, Mast Brothers Chocolate, Gotham Greens, Brooklyn Salsa, Acme Smoked Fish, Anarchy in a Jar jams, Crop to Cup coffee, Grady’s Cold Brew, Steve’s Ice Cream, Phin & Phebe’s, NuNu chocolates, People’s Pops, and more.

• Store hiring: Next summer Whole Foods will be working with Gowanus area officials and organizations to ensure that local residents have access to employment opportunities that the store will create. This means several job fairs and hiring outreach initiatives will be launched. 

“We expect that process will begin in earnest early next summer (several months in advance of our  anticipated opening), and you can be assured that our community relations and team  member services teams will be in touch with you well in advance to secure your support and involvement in this critically important aspect of the new store,” Sinatra wrote in his memo to CB 6.
Reached yesterday, Craig Hammerman, district manager of CB 6, said he and the community are pleased to see there is now a timetable.

Of the project, he noted it has helped the ambient environment in Gowanus, it will inject new life and activity at a site that has been forlorn for some time, that the store will offer access to the culinary of Brooklyn and will offer residents the chance to observe a 25,000-square-foot working greenhouse.

“But what we’re most eager about are the hundreds of jobs that will be made available and that local people can fill,” he said.