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Zoning Approved For Potential Brooklyn Site For Whole Foods

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TWC News: Zoning Approved For Potential Brooklyn Site For Whole Foods
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Another hurdle has been cleared for a major Whole Foods supermarket planned for Brooklyn.

An executive session of the Board of Standards and Appeals approved zoning for the Gowanus site.

Whole Foods purchased the property eight years ago to open its first branch in the borough, a 52,000-square-feet store that will feature solar panels, an electric car-charging station and a rooftop greenhouse.

It took several design changes over a number of years to get to this point. Locals on Community Board 6 said there were traffic concerns and the supermarket's parking lot was too large so that was reduced. There were also issues about building a new structure next to a landmark building on the corner.

The biggest roadblock was the longer-than-anticipated cleanup of the site. For decades, industrial outfits discharged all kinds of contaminants here.

"We actually reviewed this project three different times," said Community Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman. "At one point when some of the groundwater was bubbling up and forming puddles, we saw these really creepy and strange neon green puddles from the antifreeze that had leeched into the ground. So there were some nasty things going on there."

The multimillion-dollar cleanup process is now complete. While some local would prefer to have public open space rather than a supermarket, the chain store has received much support in the community.

Supporters of the project say Whole Foods would not only bring services to the area but also about 350 jobs, most of them full-time.

While a sign at the site says the market will open in April 2012, the new grand opening date is set for 2013.

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