Gowanus Whole Foods Delayed Until '09, Park Slopers Still Pushing for Changes
There's a bit of news to report on the Gowanus Whole Foods front. The headline, of course, was deep inside a story in the Sun: the company says the big store at Third Avenue and Third Street won't open until 2009. Anyone who has viewed the site would have been hard pressed to imagine how anything could be ready to open there by next year, let alone a building project that will present some issues in terms of the cleanup of toxins and other challenges. Still, as recently as this summer, Whole Foods was handing out tote bags that said "Opening 2008."
The other news is that the Park Slope Civic Council is still trying to get the retailer's attention and voted last week to try to enlist elected officials to convince the chain to build a more environmentally friendly stores. Park Slope Neighbors and the Civic Council have asked Whole Foods to include a green roof or solar power in the stores, but the retailer hasn't responded. Currently, the roof is slated for a parking lot. The groups also want Whole Food to significantly reduce the amount of parking it plans and to include a shuttle service for Park Slopers and free delivery.
Eric McClure of Park Slope Neighbors produced figures showing the store will have more parking than most, rather than less. The 64,000 square foot store would have 420 parking spaces. Whole Foods estimates it will generate 500,000 car trips a year--which is about half of the traffic that the Atlantic Yards arena is projected to generate. By comparison the Red Hook Fairway only has 300 parking spaces for a 52,000 square foot store. The argument is that fewer parking spaces and other transportation and delivery alternatives will encourage fewer people to drive and generate less traffic.
Do the construction delays mean more opportunities for residents to have an impact on the project? Stay tuned.