Gowanus Whole Foods Construction Halted After Three Workers Fell

By Leslie Albrecht on March 20, 2013 2:32pm 

GOWANUS — Construction of Brooklyn's first Whole Foods store was halted Tuesday after three workers were injured in a fall at the site, a spokesman for the gourmet grocer said.

The workers were sent to the hospital after they fell about 25 or 30 feet from the mezzanine level of the building's steel frame, said Whole Foods spokesman Michael Sinatra. None sustained major injuries and all have since been released, Sinatra said.

"There was a small accident at the site the other day so we are shut down for a short period of time, which is pretty standard," Sinatra said. The workers were welding parts of the frame when a section of it "gave way," he said.

The city's Department of Buildings issued a stop work order at the site, as well as a "Class One" safety violation — the most serious type, according to the DOB's website.

The DOB issued a previous Class One violation at the site in January because it lacked permits for oxygen and acetylene tanks, which is a fire code violation, according to the DOB website. That violation has been resolved.

A DOB spokeswoman did not respond immediately to a request for comment. The accident was first reported by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Construction should start up again next week after investigators from OSHA inspect the site, Sinatra said. The foundation has been laid and metal framing is going up fast at the store's future home on Third Street and Third Avenue, on the banks of the heavily polluted Gowanus Canal.

The store, which is expected to open this fall, will be the first Whole Foods in Brooklyn. It will rise just a few feet from the historic Coignet building, a longtime neighborhood landmark that's the subject of a new documentary.

The Whole Foods store is one of many new developments planned for the area. A developer recently won approval for a 700-unit housing complex across the canal on Bond Street between Carroll and Second streets.

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