For months now, there have been signs that Whole Foods Markets has wanted and needed to upgrade its Callowhill store in Center City’s Logan Square neighborhood. Back in April, we learned that the grocer scheduled a meeting with members of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA) to discuss building a surface parking lot to alleviate their current nightmarish lot.
Nothing seemed to come of this meeting and so it appears Whole Foods has decided to look elsewhere for the upgrades the store needs. That search appears to have come to a close; according to this report, the grocer has signed a lease to relocate to a new location near its existing store at 20th and Callowhill.
While no details were initially released regarding the ‘where’ of the new store, Whole Foods did let us in on the ‘what’ and ‘when,’ saying it will be part of an eventual 55,000-square-foot mixed-use development on a nearby three-acre piece of land, to open by 2017.
This just begged the blogosphere to speculate on end as to where it will be moving. Could it be the new mixed-use Granary development adjacent to Whole Foods’ current location? That development, which is currently under construction, only sports 20,000 square feet of retail and is expected to be done in 2013, well ahead of the 2017 deadline being thrown out there. So this wasn’t the answer.
Perhaps it’s a part of a project we don’t yet know anything about? Apparently the answer to this question is a ‘yes.’ Late last week a new report was released with more details, confirming that Whole Foods will be moving to the 2100 block of Spring Garden Street, currently home to a Best Western Hotel. That structure, which isn’t exactly a favorite among Logan Square residents, will come down and be replaced by the grocer, with underground parking, a cafe, and a number of additional retail spaces. The new construction building will also include 250-300 apartment units.
This development prospect is extremely exciting – removing an underperforming use and bringing some definition to the edges of the Parkway is a must for this neighborhood. But what does this all mean about the future of the current Whole Foods? We’ll be watching for updates on this story and hope to provide some answers sooner than later.
-By Greg Meckstroth for PhiladelphiaRealEstate.com