Foods seeking more land for its Gowanus supermarket
Whole Foods could get the whole block.
The giant natural and organic food retailer is in talks to purchase two
industrial sites on property adjacent to its planned store on Third Avenue
and Third Street in Gowanus, the owner of one of the lots told The Brooklyn
If the purchases go through, they would more than double the size of Whole
Foods real estate along Third Street, reaching the entire length between
Third Avenue and the Gowanus Canal.
Meanwhile, the city Department of Sanitation — citing “character
integrity issues” — this week closed one of the businesses operating
next to the planned supermarket.
“Whether we want to leave or not, Whole Foods is going to own this
block,” said Tony Cantilli, an owner of the Red Hook Crushers, which
has recycled and sold building material on a one-acre piece of Third Street
for the past 21 years.
Owners of the second lot, which houses All-Boro Building Supplies, did
not return calls seeking comment.
Cantilli, who said his company was in talks with Whole Foods, blamed the
retailer for the unexpected closure
“Let’s just say that Whole Foods is a very powerful poperty
owner,” Cantilli said. “And if [Whole Foods] says they have
problems with us, the city has problems with us.”
Whole Food denied Cantilli’s assertion. “This is an unfortunate
rumor that is absolutely untrue,” said spokesman Fred Shank. “Whole
Foods Market is focused on the operation of one one company: our own.”
Before the city’s Business Integrity Commission [BIC] recommended
that Sanitation investigate the crusher, there had been just two violations
on the site — one in 2003 for “dust conditions,” and another
in 1999 for leaving concrete bricks and other debris on the sidewalk.
Sanitation denied that Whole Foods had anything to do with its decision
to close the plant.
“There were character and integrity issues related to operation,”
said Department of Sanitation spokesman Keith Mellis. “We investigated,
took some steps and eventually reached the end of the road.”
The BIC did not return phone calls seeking comment for this article.
Whole Foods is envisioning a glistening store at their Third Avenue and
Third Street site — a marked departure for the two-acre lot, a junkyard
when Red Hook Crushers came to the neighborhood in 1985.
But as previously reported in The Brooklyn
, the urbane grocer came onto some unexpected complications
this fall when underground gasoline storage tanks were found on the site.
Now the store’s opening has been delayed until 2008.
Plans released last year show a 42,000-square foot building with a large
underground kitchen and food preparation area. In the fall, cleanup of
the site was slowed when underground storage tanks were found buried on
Currently, the Massachusetts-based retailer is revising its design, according
to a spokesman for the company.
Spokesman Shank declined to comment on how new acreage could affect their
“Whole Foods Market is constantly looking at sites for possible new
store locations,” said Shank.
Red Hook Crushers was the last business of its type in Brooklyn. It attracted
75 delivery trucks a day and produced between 500 and 1000 cubic yards
of mixed aggregate — dirt, brick and concrete used for paving streets
Updated 2:57 am, December 11, 2013