The already extremely dilapidated Coignet building at the corner of 3rd Avenue and 3rd Street in Gowanus appears to have sustained more injuries during the construction of Whole Foods, which opened today. We got a close look at the landmarked building Sunday, which Whole Foods now wraps around on two sides. In exchange for the right to build on the site, the grocer has promised to restore the exterior of the building.
When we stopped by 360 3rd Avenue, at least two windows were broken and open, but most alarmingly, there was what looked like a huge structural crack at the base of the front of the building on the 3rd Street side. (When reviewing our photos, we noticed what may be another structural crack on the 3rd Avenue side too.) It turns out we are not the first to notice a new crack. A story in the Brooklyn Paper last week said neighbors and the activist group Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus noticed a new crack in early December and reported it to the Department of Buildings, which is investigating.
“The pounding of piledrivers and sloppy excavation all but tore the place apart,” said the story. Whole Foods denies any responsibility, and said it still plans to restore the facade.
Filmmaker Max Kutner, who made a documentary about the building, “At the Corner of 3rd and 3rd,” said everyone he interviewed told him they saw the building shaking during the Whole Foods construction, the story said.
The former headquarters for the Long Island Cognet Stone Company, the building is the earliest known example of concrete construction in New York City. It was built in 1873, has been empty since the 1960s, and was landmarked in 2006.
The building is for rent or for sale for $3,000,000. The roof was repaired in 2011. The interior will need a gut renovation. The current owner, an LLC, bought the property in 2005 for $4,945,200, according to PropertyShark.
Click through to the jump for lots more photos.
Whole Foods on Crack: We Didn’t Do It [Brooklyn Paper]
Above, what appears to be a structural crack in the base of the building.