In 2006 Whole Foods broke ground at what would be their first Brooklyn location, at 3rd Street and 3rd Avenue in Gowanus. By 2009 rumor spread that the company may pull out of the contaminated area, spurring Whole Foods manager Mark Mobley to make a statement saying: "recent reports of Whole Foods Market's demise in Brooklyn seem to have been greatly exaggerated!" And with that, a neighborhood has been patiently awaiting their grocery overlords to build an overpriced outlet for food atop the contaminated soil.
Now the Brooklyn Paper reports that Whole Foods has finished their clean-up of the site along the now-Superfunded Gowanus Canal, which included the removal of oil tanks and a 2-foot layer of clean soil to cap off any toxicity. However, the store still won't commit to building there.
The company clearly hasn't pulled out of the space, but will they follow the lead of the Toll Brothers, who recently did? Their spokesman says they are "now reviewing the possibilities for a future location at this site. While there is no timetable set, discussions are active and we remain hopeful to bring a store to this community in the near future.”
There are also incentives for Whole Foods to build on the property (or for someone else to); the local Community Board was recently told, “The [clean-up] tax credits pay over the course of 10 years. If the site is sold, those tax credits move with the land [to the new owner].”