Look Inside the Crumbling Coignet Building

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An anonymous urban explorer sent us these photos of his trip inside the landmarked but dilapidated Coignet building at 3rd Avenue and 3rd Street, which Whole Foods is supposed to begin restoring soon. The organic food giant had promised to finish restoring the building before it opened its doors in Gowanus, but construction may have further damaged it. The Landmarks Preservation Commission fined Whole Foods $3,000 in December for failing to maintain the property.

When we stopped by last month, the building was open to the elements, with broken windows accessible on the ground floor and what looked like new structural cracks at the base of the building.

Here’s the explorer’s description of the interior:

“For the most part the interior is characterless in terms of details and finishes, but it’s really neglected, which isn’t justified for it being such a badass New York City landmark. There’s a pretty cool spiral staircase that goes from the basement to the second floor and in the basement there’s a walk-in vault. For some reason I spent most of my time down there — a combination of incredible low light and the feeling like it was the only part that didn’t have a cheap 1950′s renovation. Didn’t Whole Foods make a deal whereby they can straddle the shit out of the Coignet Building as long as they help to restore it? Some of the floors and parts of the staircase are collapsing from water damage so clearly something needs to be done. I would hate to see this follow in the footsteps of Admiral’s Row.”

Click through the jump for the rest of the photos!

City Approves Permits for Whole Foods to Restore Coignet Building [Brownstoner]
Coignet Building in Bad Shape [Brownstoner]
Photos by Gothamr

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6 Comment

  • Cool photos; I always wanted to know what it was like in there. Looks like it has been stripped of most of its period details, except for door frames and the stair. I think that WF is going to rehabilitate that stair as well as the exterior, roof and windows. One thing you need to be careful about in your coverage is your assertion that WF further damaged the building, and your implication that they are somehow responsible for the current condition of the interior. This building has been left to crumble for decades, WF is the good guy here. I have heard nothing about any other group coming forward to to anything to restore this building. No one cared about it till WF came along.

    • I agree WF is not responsible for the deterioration, but I’m not sure if I would call them the good guy just yet. If I remember correctly they were given some special variances by agreeing to to fix up Coignet. They managed to design, build, and open their store before ever lifting a hammer on Coignet. Hopefully now they will get around to doing the right thing, but I’m not quite ready to give them any Landmarkitarian awards.

      • They did a test patch on the wall and did some work to the roof. I do not hold it against them that they finished their store first; that makes more business sense. They have everything to lose and nothing to gain by not fixing that building. They will do it.

  • East New York

    “An anonymous urban explorer”

    I.e., someone who broke into a dangerous abandoned building and strolled around, taking images.

  • The lead abatement in there is gonna be a nightmare.