Whole Foods To Anchor Major St. Paul Development

The company is relocating an existing St. Paul location into a larger space in a new mixed-use development.

Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market, Inc., is hungry for growth in the Twin Cities. And in its second-quarter earnings announcement, released after the market closed on Wednesday, the company confirmed that it has signed a lease for a new store in St. Paul.

Whole Foods had been widely rumored as the tenant to anchor a proposed mixed-use development at the northeast corner of Selby Avenue and Snelling Avenue in St. Paul. Minneapolis-based Ryan Companies US, Inc., and Eden Prairie-based Excelsior Group have floated plans for a project with approximately 206 apartments and a grocery store at 176 Snelling Avenue North, currently home to an Associated Bank location.

In a press release, Whole Foods announced that the new store of approximately 38,000 square feet would replace the company’s current St. Paul location at 30 South Fairview Avenue. The existing store will remain open until the new store opens, which is currently projected to occur in early 2016.

“We’re incredibly excited about the opportunity to deepen our connection with our customers and the community of St. Paul,” Michael Bashaw, Midwest regional president for Whole Foods Market, said in a statement. “This new store will give us a chance to serve our long‑term customers and meet new ones in a larger location with more amenities. We’re looking forward to building on all of the things that the community has come to expect from us all these years.”

The current St. Paul location, which opened in 1995, was the first local store for Whole Foods. The company opened a second store in Minneapolis near Lake Calhoun in 1999, but then went more than a decade before opening another Twin Cities location.

But the retailer clearly has a fresh appetite for new stores. It opened in Minnetonka in October 2011, Edina in April 2012, and just two weeks ago in Maple Grove.

Whole Foods is slated to open its next local store on September 25 in the North Loop area of downtown Minneapolis as part of the mixed-use 222 Hennepin project. The Ryan and Excelsior Group team also developed that project.

On Thursday, Ryan representatives could not immediately be reached for comment. Project plans also call for a new Associated Bank branch at the St. Paul site.

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