Welcome To The Future Home Of The Hazmat Whole Foods

Over at the Gowanus Lounge there is new discussion of the Brooklyn Whole Foods that is to be built on site of a toxic chemical spill that is absolutely, 100%, positively, in no way, seriously you guys, we’re not kidding around here NOT the fault of Verizon. Whole Foods has finally branded the site despite the huge hazmat warning, as shown in this way-cool photo.

According to Gowanus Lounge the toxic chemicals Whole Foods will have to deal with include (but, hey are probably not limited to): “volatile organic compounds and semi-volatile organic compounds (including napthalene and mixed xylenes), metals, benzene, acenaphthene, phenol and lead. ” Sounds delicious. —MEGHANN MARCO

Whole Foods Marks Gowanus Territory, Embraces Toxics [Gowanus Lounge]
(Photo: Gowanus Lounge)

PREVIOUSLY: This Will Totally Be A Whole Foods Just As Soon As We Clean Up The Toxic Waste


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  1. vanilla-fro says:

    I’m no contractor, I’ve never even made a birdhouse, but don’t they use some kinda toxic stuff during construction?

    Also, can’t they clean this area or is it going to be some toxic pit forever (or at least until the icecaps are gone)?

  2. Moosehawk says:

    So Verizon is trying to give me cancer now?

  3. Fuzzy_duffel_bag says:

    so, “branded” means “hung up a sign?”

  4. mac-phisto says:

    @vanilla-fro: brownfields come with government subsidies to clean up the toxins, but they also require expensive removal/disposal of sometimes tons of waste – the worst brownfields require that the entire property is excavated a yard or more deep, the soil needs to be placed in government-approved toxic waste containers (the infamous glowing 55-gallon drums as seen on the simpsons) & removed by licensed hazmat profs. the entire process needs to be monitored to assure that funding requirements are met.

    the incentives (aside from the government funding that will never cover the entire cost of cleanup) are cheap land (since most ppl don’t want to undertake a massive cleanup like this) & sometimes property tax breaks.

  5. tcabeen says:

    They’re ORGANIC compounds, so it’s ok. They’re actually good for you.

    [sarcasm meter: high]

  6. ptkdude says:

    Somehow I think it’s only a matter of time before the Brooklyn Whole Foods starts selling record-sized honeydews.

  7. jendomme says:

    As Vanilla-fro correctly pointed out, VOCs are part of the off-gassing from everyday construction materials, from paint to carpet. You can minimize VOCs through ‘natural’ materials, but people in general are reluctant to use them all of the time due to their exorbitant costs.

    WF didn’t ‘brand’ the site. They merely placed their sign on the construction fence denoting what was coming. This is common practice in the construction industry. Just look around.

    Not all brownfields receive government funding, subsidies or otherwise to clean the site. It depends on the size, location and extent of contamination.

  8. shdwsclan says:

    Pretty soon the waste problem is gonna get so bad, that sites are gonna be designated to dump trash and when that get too huge, we are gonna use nuclear weapons to vaporize the trash…..

    That may sound like a pretty good idea, except for the radiation and fallout part…..

    Ion cannon from CNC/TS/3 should do the trick……

    ….where military spending and evironmental spending meet….

  9. John Stracke says:


    ….where military spending and evironmental spending meet….

    That would be the Rainbow Warrior, wouldn’t it?

  10. TomK says:

    As long as all the dangerous chemicals are organic it will fit right in with whole foods target demographic.

  11. AcidReign says:

    …..What is it about these guys? They built on the most toxic site in my area, too! They must be a Pentex subsidiary. Not gonna get my business…

  12. GearheadGeek says:

    It’s Whole Foods… they’ll just line the pit with an impenetrable barrier of money they took from customers at their other stores…

  13. mikesfree says:

    I think its great that they are improving a site and cleaning it up. Why not?

  14. unwritten07 says:

    @mac-phisto: There’s an old Anchor Glass Container site nearby. They basically scooped up a few feet of dirt into a huge pile (about 90 acres worth). Then they let the pile sit there wide open to the elements all winter. They are just now starting to actually remove it. Every time I go by there I wonder how much of that pile will go air(or water)borne before they are finished.

    Anchor made Monty Burns look like a tree-hugger before they closed the plant:


    No problem as long as the government is monitoring the cleanup. ©¿©

  15. That’s nothing. The Uptown Whole Foods in New Orleans is built on an old bus “barn”.

    As recently as 1998, 80+ Diesels buses were serviced here; under the produce aisle is the left side service pit, where thousands of gallons of used oil were drained from the city’s decrepit mass transit fleet.

    The right side of the barn (uh, store) is where other heavy service and tire changes were done. I used to live next door on Constance street; the constant rumble of Disels put me to sleep and helped me develop a nasty cough that took six months to go away completely.

    You can also walk around the back of the store, where the RTA employees used to change their oil. Instead of using the RTA’s bus service barn, they just used the handy “sewer” oil disposal system when working on their cars with city-owned tools.

    Whole Foods Magazine Street: Toxic first, toxic to last!

  16. catnapped says:

    @unwritten07 wrote: “No problem as long as the government is monitoring the cleanup”

    Was that supposed to be snark?

  17. AcidReign says:

    …..@Liberal Cajun: Figures Magazine street. Selling to those $multi-million Garden District homes. It sure is a fun neighborhood to take a walk in!

    …..The Birmingham Whole Foods is built on the famous US 280 Dirtpile.

  18. unamericanvalues says:

    Keeping with Whole Foods organic mentality I think they chose the best location, I mean you can’t get more organic than volatile organic compounds. Instead of properly cleaning the site they’ll just take the volatile substances mix it with some “contaminated” lettuce from 7th Street Produce Market, slap on a ten dollar price tag and call it organic salad.

    (yum tasty!)

  19. Mr. Gunn says:

    AcidReign, et al: Isn’t it a good thing to clean up these sites? It’s not like they’re growing the food there! The Magazine St. Whole Foods is great, and I love how the incorporated the old architecture into the building. It looks nice.

    I swear, some people will complain about everything….

  20. AcidReign says:

    …..It’s not cleaned up, when the creek downstream from that “dirtpile” site features numerous dead birds and fish every week. I know someone who lives downstream. Nothing was cleaned up. They just built on top of the disaster.

  21. unwritten07 says:

    @catnapped: Yes, my middle name should be ‘snarky’.
    It was a shot at the Feds, though, not @mac-phisto.