Photograph provided by Eymund Diegel taken July 2011 of Whole Foods Site by the Gowanus Canal Conservancy's 'Gowanus Low Altitude Mapping program' (Liberty Industrial Gases donated the balloons helium used to take the shot)

It’s official after 8 years Whole Foods Market has received everything it needs to build its Whole Foods store here in Gowanus. On Tuesday afternoon the Board of Standards and Appeals gave a variance for food, which was the last hurdle the national food chain needed to begin construction on its 3rd Ave. and 3rd St. location. There was a mixed bag of emotions from locals. Some are very happy about getting an organic market, while others are not excited that a food chain store will be moving into the area. One of those less than pleased about the Boards decision is the Gowanus Institute who recently proposed a different alternative for the Whole Food’s Gowanus site. The Institute posted a statement on their Facebook page saying they were:

disappointed by NYC Board of Standards and Appeals decision to grant…the variance to build a large, suburban-style retail food market in an area that has been a haven for well-paying manufacturing jobs protected by New York City’s zoning law and economic policies.”

The Institute went further in detail with their disappointment by saying:

If BSA [Board of Standards and Appeals] could so easily determine that manufacturing is not viable at the WFM [Whole Foods Market] site, then the standard for a variance must be so low that the developer of any site could carry out similar plans by pursuing the same process–one that not only completely undermines zoning law, but more importantly eliminates the opportunity for the public to participate in decisions about development in their communities.”

While on the other side of the spectrum the Gowanus Alliance, who represents many industrial businesses in the area, posted utter jubilation about the Board’s decision on their Facebook page:

Congratulations whole foods. Congratulations to the people of Gowanus!!!!!!!!!”

The Alliance even specifically called on Whole Foods to reach out to the community it will now be apart of by saying:

Lets hope whole foods, can reach out to our members for local services….we are iron workers, we are glass manufacturers, we are refrigeration contractors,, we are [have] contractors…We are the manufacturers of Gowanus.”

Two very different opinions on an issue that will surely change Gowanus. It is likely that the store will bring many people from all over Brooklyn to Gowanus, but will it be a blessing for the industrial art neighborhood or will it be a curse? only time will tell.

The big question is whether or not the battle for Whole Foods is truly over? With years of media outlets saying “Whole Foods coming to Gowanus”, its hard to believe that its actually going to be built. Whole Foods is surely eager to build and we will keep to up-to-date on construction as it happens and information on what’s going on with the Coignet building on the corner of 3rd Ave. and 3rd St.

Discovered via Brownstoner


*we do know that the media will eat this story up and reporters are rolling into Gowanus to get their photo op and sound bite.

Hey reports, be sure to shop local while you’re here. Not only do we have some tasty food and great boutiques, we also have a Super Canal that you could write about some more.