Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market plans to expand their existing store at Midtown Place on Ponce de Leon Avenue into the adjacent Staples. Staples announced earlier this year its planned merger with Office Depot/Office Max, although the deal is facing antitrust scrutiny and consequently has not yet closed. Nevertheless, Staples has been closing locations around metro Atlanta with the Ponce store being one of only a few left in the area.
Building permits on file with the City of Atlanta indicate that Whole Foods will take over 9,500 square feet of the current roughly 24,000 square foot Staples store. The changes will leave Staples with a far more manageable 15,000 square feet, and allows Whole Foods to expand its offerings in what will become a nearly 50,000 square foot store. The changes, already underway at Staples, should be completed for both retailers in about six months.
I first heard of Whole Foods' intention to expand at Ponce and Buckhead over two years ago, and its seems the pieces have fallen into place for the midtown expansion first. The Buckhead expansion is far more complex and is likely still years away.
Whole Foods at Midtown Place opened in early 2003 and has reportedly become one the chain's most popular and profitable locations in the region. The 40,000 square foot store was originally built-out for Harris Teeter, but following the Charlotte-based grocers exit from the Atlanta market in 2001, the space became available and was subsequently leased to Whole Foods.
Whole Foods also has three new stores in the works for Atlanta in midtown, Chamblee, and Kennesaw. The midtown store is being described by corporate as a "flagship" location and will measure 70,000 square feet over multiple levels of a new luxury apartment tower at the corner of 14th and West Peachtree Streets. Another new Whole Foods Market is planned for "Peachtree Crossing," a new development at Peachtree Boulevard and Johnson Ferry Road in Chamblee. The 40,000 square foot Whole Foods will anchor the new center. According to Whole Foods, the midtown store should open "in 2017," and the Chamblee store will open "in early 2017." A new Whole Foods coming to Kennesaw is expected to open in 2016, and will anchor the new "Kennesaw Marketplace" being developed by Fuqua Development at the corner of Barrett Parkway and U.S. 41 (Cobb Parkway.) Sources indicate that the opening of the Whole Foods in Kennesaw will coincide with the closure of the Harry's Farmers Market on Powers Ferry Road in Marietta.
What would you like to see added or improved at the Whole Foods at Midtown Place? Are you excited about the additional Whole Foods stores coming to metro Atlanta? Where else would you like to see Whole Foods open a new store in metro Atlanta?
Please share your thoughts below.