Coignet Building Restoration Has Begun, Anticipated Completion in Late 2014

After months of stalling, it appears that Whole Foods Brooklyn is finally making good on their legal obligation to restore the historic Coignet Building on the corner of Third and Third.

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The Green of Whole Foods 3rd & 3rd Store

Whole Foods site at Third Ave & Third Street here in Gowanus, Brooklyn, has been called the ‘the greenest grocery store in America’. But is it really? Can they make this claim?

Steam Engine Films produced this video for Whole Foods, which highlights what Whole Foods Gowanus really have going on, when it comes to being green…

Whole Foods Sustainability in Brooklyn from William Doble on Vimeo.

The Twitterverse Reacts to the Grand Opening of Whole Foods in Brooklyn

A record store???

A record store???

Opinions. Everyone’s got ‘em! Especially in Brooklyn, where today’s grand opening of the borough’s first Whole Foods supermarket has sparked a media frenzy. Let’s take a look at what people are saying about the newest Whole Foods location throughout the Twitterverse. There are some real gems in here, as you might expect!

Be sure to check out our photos of the grand opening from earlier today if you haven’t seen them yet.

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Damage to the Coignet Building?

Today marks the official opening of the Whole Foods in Brooklyn. Some are saying the new store  ”Symbolizes Area’s Redevelopment”, while others are calling its the ‘end of Gowanus’. Either way the store is up and opening.

One of the main concerns of having a mega store being built on the Whole Foods lot at 3rd Ave and 3rd Street has been whether or not the landmarked Coignet Stone Company Building right on the corner is adequately protected. One of the rules giving to Whole Foods is that they have to preserve and repair the building. Clearly the repair part of the agreement was/is not slated till after the store has opened. We can understand that a focus by a big company might be on launching their new place and not the complex repair of an old, somewhat forgotten building.


Last night we received a tip from a GYFO reader indicating that some of the facade of the building had fallen off! They say:

…a big part of the side of the staircase has crumbled overnight. It was not this way yesterday…and that whole front piece is missing.


In the picture they sent in the concrete that wrapped around the front part of the staircase is just simply gone.


top image sent in by L. Mariano taken by Martin Bisi


-We went by and took another photo to clarify the damage. -

More concerning is that according to the tipster the missing pieces are nowhere to be found and that they believe this most likely happened…

cause the staircase was behind fencing through yesterday, and it was removed sloppily

We wondered over after the sun came up and found tones of items lying right next to the Coignet Stone Company Building. Some of these items looked to be hastily placed (thrown) within the footprint of the history structure.


~derp! This looks like a great place to throw some wood. Who give a rats ass about hurting the side of the building or the old fencing. (not a real quote)

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The Gowanus Whole Foods Will Open on December 17th

Whole Foods Opening Dec 17

Whole Foods Opening Dec 17


It’s official: the Gowanus Whole Foods on Third Street and Third Avenue in Brooklyn will be opening on December 17th. So sayeth a vinyl banner posted on the side of the building late last week. There’s no turning back now! A flurry of construction workers were visible hard at work inside the building even late at night this past weekend.

Meanwhile, since controversy seems to follow Whole Foods wherever it goes, the latest involves the historic Coignet building next door that Whole Foods agreed to restore as part of the deal that allowed them to build their store in Gowanus. While local residents claim the Whole Foods construction process caused a crack in the building and greatly worsened its condition, Whole Foods denies the allegations. As long as Whole Foods makes good on its promise to restore the building (which it hasn’t begun yet) and as long as the building doesn’t fall down in the meantime, we say: what’s the difference? Read about it in the Brooklyn Paper.

The Gowanus Whole Foods is Nearing Completion

The new Whole Foods in Gowanus is getting close to finally opening. Very close. I had my doubts when they posted a sign a few months back that boasted they’d be opening in “Late 2013,” but it does seem like a possibility with a month left to go. All the brick is up. The park area on the canal waterfront is nearly done. Solar panels in the parking lot have been installed. The greenhouses on the roof are in place. Workers mill about inside the building installing the interior at a furious pace. Things are happening — fast. Check out some photos I snapped last Wednesday below.

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The Gowanus Whole Foods Will Have a Rooftop Bar and Restaurant

Not only will the Gowanus Whole Foods have a full commercial vegetable garden on its roof, but it’ll have a full-service bar and cafe too. The venue will be called The Roof, will have 16 beers on tap and will serve up food from a variety of neighborhood vendors. While it’ll surely be nice to have these options in the neighborghood, it’s hard not to chuckle at how stereotypically Brooklyn hipster this all is. Here’s the quote from Eater:

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Gowanus Whole Foods is Hiring

Live in or near Gowanus and need a job? The new Whole Foods that’s going up on the corner of Third and Third is now officially hiring.

The above photos comes from Pardon Me For Asking, who saw the flyer hanging in Assemblywoman Joan Millman’s office on Smith Street. PMFA also has some excellent photos of the current progress of construction; it’s getting close! Check it out.

Those interested in applying for a position at Whole Foods can do so here.

More Information About the Greenhouse Atop the Gowanus Whole Foods


Brooklyn-Store_smWhole Foods has released a whole lot of new information about the 20,000 square foot greenhouse they’ll be building atop the soon-to-open Whole Foods in Gowanus [via Grub Street]. Gotham Greens – famous for their massive rooftop garden in Greenpoint – will operate the greenhouse, which they’re billing as “the nation’s first commercial scale greenhouse farm integrated within a retail grocery space.” Notably, the rooftop garden will operate year-round and supply fresh produce not only to the Gowanus store but to other Whole Foods retailers throughout NYC.

Here’s Whole Foods trying to convince you how green and ethical they are:

The new greenhouse will be designed, built and operated by Gotham Greens in partnership with Whole Foods Market. The specially designed rooftop farm will include advanced irrigation systems that use up to 20 times less water than conventional farming as well as enhanced glazing materials and electrical equipment to reduce overall energy demand. Based on the farm’s proximity to Whole Foods Market stores in New York City, the project will eliminate long distance food transport and its associated emissions, while ensuring product freshness, quality and nutrition for thousands of customers in the area.

The rooftop greenhouse will be fully operational at the time of the new Whole Foods Market opening. Read the rest of Whole Foods’ marketing fluff, including the lulz-worthy phrase “green collar jobs,” here.

At The Corner Of 3rd and 3rd

If you’ve been in Gowanus all your life or if you even been here for only a short while you’ve seen the ornate building curiously siting at 3rd Avenue and 3rd Street. The building, which stood alone for decades till Whole Foods started recently building their store nearby, is from 1873 and was used as sort of an office space (not as a house) by the New York and Long Island Coignet Stone Company a long long time ago. Documentary filmmaker Max Kutner explores the history and cultural effects of this building in a new doc called At The Corner Off 3rd And 3rd. As you will see in the trailer below Kutner’s film will cover how an abandoned building has become the representation of Gowanus, a neighborhood that has been falsely proclaimed as an abandoned wasteland. Featured in the trailer is the Who’s Who of Gowanus including long time Gowanus advocate/reporter Katia Kelly and history buff/writer Joseph Alexiou.

“At The Corner Of 3rd and 3rd” Trailer from Max Kutner on Vimeo.

(Rumor has it that this beloved Coignet Building won’t be leased to a local business. Several people have said that the buildings owner only wants a corporate business such as Starbucks to occupy the building. This is just gossip though and no effort has been made to investigate the validity of these statements.)

The Coignet Building is Up For Sale


New York and Long Island Stone Company Coignet building at 360 Third Avenue — at the corner of Third Street, soon to be completely surrounded on two sides by Whole Foods — has been placed up for sale by the building’s owner, Richard Kowalski.

Brooklyn blog Pardon Me For Asking dug up the story and this listing for the property after spotting a “for sale” sign posted on the lot. The listing reads as follows:

Great retail opportunity adjacent to the new Whole Foods Market. Landmarked building in prime Gowanus location. The exterior of the building is to be completely restored by Whole Foods (interior requires gut renovation).

Property was built in 1873 and was originally known as the Coignet Stone Company building. It has been referred to as a “pioneering example of concrete construction in the United States” by The Landmarks Preservation Commission and commonly considered a large part of the neighborhood’s history. The property includes a 750 sq. ft. dock space on the Gowanus Canal next to the 3rd Avenue bridge.

If you’re looking for a slice of Gowanus to call home, don’t get your hopes up: the building is zoned for commercial use.

Whole Foods agreed to restore the exterior of the landmarked building in 2005 as part of the deal that allowed the big-box food retailer to build on the adjacent lot, but was unable to convince the building’s owner to part with the property. The roof was replaced in 2011, but the rest of the exterior’s still got a long way to go. We can only assume that Kowalski is holding out on selling to Whole Foods on principle, and we’re curious to learn who the building’s eventual suitor will be.