When we say the Gowanus Whole Foods "hugs" the canal and the Coignet Building, we don't really mean that it an affectionate, everyone-is-friends way. It's more like a oh-my-god-why-are-you-this-close-to-me hug. Neighborhood resident Martin Bisi has been taking photos of the supermarket site for a long time, documenting its development. He recently sent us a few construction photos, and Pardon Me For Asking has posted some others. The steel frame of the store is steadily rising, and Bisi's most recent photos show just how close the building comes to the polluted canal's edge and the walls of the historic Coignet Building.
The proximity to the canal could be cause for concern, especially considering that the entire site flooded during Hurricane Sandy?and we can't forget that Red Hook's Fairway supermarket was closed for four months because of storm damage. Hopefully Whole Foods incorporated some serious flood prevention measures into the building design.
As part of the company's deal with the city to build on the formerly industrial site, Whole Foods had to remediate it under the DEC's Brownfield Clean-up Program. Their clean-up ended way back in July 2010, and PMFA summarizes it thusly: "The work included included excavation and disposal of soils impacted with contaminants, the removal of underground tanks, ground water monitoring, the installation of a soil cover consisting of several feet of new fill, and a layer of gravel to cap the site." Bisi noted that recent construction included pile driving through the soil cap, and he wondered whether or not this would affect the remediation. We're no brownfield experts, so we reached out to the Department of Environmental Conservation and will update when we get more info.
· That New Gowanus Whole Foods Store Is Mighty Close To The Polluted Waters Of The Canal [PMFA]
· Gowanus Whole Foods coverage [Curbed]