Cleanup To Begin On Site Of Stalled Brooklyn Supermarket
Brooklyn was supposed to get its first Whole Foods store back in 2008, but the site chosen was so contaminated the supermarket was never built. Now, some plans are moving forward for the location, although not exactly the one first proposed. NY1’s Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.
Nearly four years after it was announced a Whole Foods supermarket would be built in Gowanus, residents will finally see some activity on what is now just a vacant piece of property.
But the work that will take place this month is a massive cleanup project.
“It’s been a big concern of people in the Gowanus Canal community especially because they were fearful that this site would never get fully remediated,” said Community Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman.
The more than two acre site was the location of numerous industrial operations dating back to the late 1880’s. A car junk yard and an auto radiator repair shop were among the businesses that left it contaminated.
Whole Foods already owns the site and is slated to remove the contaminants in the ground, dig out former underground storage tanks and cover the area with clean soil.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will oversee the cleanup of the site. The agency estimates it will cost almost $2 million. Whole Foods will receive tax credits to offset its cleanup costs and for redevelopment of the property.
The market says it’s committed to the cleanup but that no final decision has been made about actually bringing in a supermarket.
“Whole Foods was looking for some type of a partner to venture into the site with and that was one of the reasons they’ve decided to hold off on the actual construction,” Hammerman said.
Some residents say they hope Whole Foods will come to the area, while others are not so keen on the idea.
“It would be a plus for the neighborhood,” said one Gowanus resident.
“They have a lot of supermarkets here. I don’t think another supermarket is needed here,” said another Gowanus resident.
Many residents, however, agree the cleanup is needed and are welcoming the estimated three month process.