By Linda Collins
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
MANHATTAN — Whole Foods Market Inc. passed its final city hurdle Tuesday as the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) gave its unanimous approval to the grocery chain’s variance request, necessary to allow construction of the long-awaited 52,000-square-foot store on a lot zoned for only 10,000 square feet of commercial space.
“The Board did approve the variance by a vote of 5-0,” Jeffrey Mulligan, BSA executive director, told the Eagle in an email Tuesday.
“Today was only the vote,” he added. “The public did testify at the two earlier public hearings on the project — one in December and one in January.”
Said Michael Sinatra, a spokesperson for Whole Foods, “We’re very proud and appreciative to have received this approval from the New York City BSA, which joins the borough president, local councilmember, Brooklyn Community Board 6, area organizations and residents in supporting our plan to bring a store to Third Street and Third Avenue.
“Whole Foods Market is proud to be joining this community and excited to move this project forward and begin building our store, which is scheduled to open in 2013.”
According to Sinatra, the 52,000-square-foot store will have a 20,000-square-foot greenhouse on the roof plus on-site surface parking for 248 cars, and a new, publicly-accessible waterfront esplanade along the Gowanus Canal.
As the Eagle has reported, it has been seven years since Whole Foods acquired the property at Third Street and Third Avenue in Gowanus in 2005. In the interim, the company has cleaned up the toxic waste at the site, has dealt with the public’s concerns about parking and traffic and, as The New York Times noted in an article on Monday, has opened four other stores in Manhattan in that time.