Saturday, June 02, 2007

Whole Foods Toxic Gowanus Site Plans "Roils New Yorkers"

Whole Foods Site April

The story of the Whole Foods store on the toxic site at Third Avenue and Third Street was picked up by Bloomberg yesterday. The long story quotes a Whole Foods exec as saying that criticism of the store has "been a little brutal" but that the retailer will be "happy to be there." He also says that "We like Brooklyn because it's cool and hip, and the store will be in an area just starting to change." Here are a couple of samples from the story:
More than a year after announcing plans to clean up a contaminated Brooklyn site to build a supermarket, the Austin, Texas-based company is sparring with residents who say the project will add to pollution and attract unwanted development.

"They've wrapped themselves in the cloak of being green and organic, but they're certainly not acting that way,'' said Eric McClure, campaign coordinator of Park Slope Neighbors, a community group. "Their talk is not matching their walk.''...

The store is to be built on a 2.1-acre (0.85-hectare) tract in the Gowanus Canal corridor that at various times has been used for a junkyard, an oil-processing facility and a coal yard. A visitor walking the streets encounters a gritty collection of industry, including a marble company, a concrete plant, a metal recycling plant and auto-repair shops.

Whole Foods has already started cleaning up the soil, which is contaminated with benzene, a carcinogen, as well as toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Opposition to the store, the Whole Foods exec says is from "a small group of people hung up on several issues.''

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