BL Companies was the lead A/E firm for the design of the new Whole Foods store that opened in December 2013, at the corner of 3rd Street and 3rd Avenue, in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, New York. The site is bounded in the rear by the Gowanus Canal; tidal wetlands protected by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and was home to an abandoned auto repair shop, former petroleum bulk storage tanks, and masonry yard when Whole Foods purchased it in 2003. The project is an excellent example of the unique application of engineering principles to produce the greenest of possible designs. The store is expecting to receive LEED Platinum status.
After extensive environmental site remediation removed thousands of cubic yards of contaminated earth, the project now features a 58,000 SF store, 20,000 SF hydroponic greenhouse and solar parking canopies that produce electricity in turn reducing the dependency on the electric grid. The permeable paver parking lot allows for infiltration keeping storm water out of the city sewage treatment plant and the grey/storm water reuse system reduces potable water intake. The softened rip-rap shoreline design provides habitat for aquatic and semi-aquatic species and the landscape architecture of the canal promenade beautifully promotes public access to the water. The entire Whole Foods site is framed by a promenade which features a meandering walkway and benches along the Gowanus Canal.