Whole Foods is coming to uptown Charlotte.
The Austin, Texas-based grocery chain is expected to say this week that the store will be a 47,000-square-foot market in a mixed-use apartment building at Stonewall and South Caldwell streets that Charlotte-based Crescent Communities plans to develop.
A Whole Foods representative said the company will announce new leases during its quarterly earnings call Wednesday. A Crescent Communities representative said the company will provide more information on the 440-unit Crescent Uptown development soon, but declined to comment immediately.
The new Whole Foods will feature a rooftop restaurant and bar overlooking the Charlotte skyline, according to a Charlotte restaurant blog run by local real estate brokers. The chain is known for selling an array of organic and prepared foods.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Despite a booming apartment rental market in and around Charlotte’s city center, there’s a dearth of grocery shopping options in the area: Right now uptown Charlotte has only a single Harris Teeter, at Fifth and Poplar. The next closest is the Trader Joe’s in the Metropolitan shopping center, about 2 miles south of the Harris Teeter.
Grubb Properties has also been working to attract a grocer to its SkyHouse apartment towers under development at Ninth and Tryon streets, which is expected to bring almost 700 new units and include between 25,000 and 30,000 square feet of retail space.
CEO Clay Grubb said Tuesday that the company doesn’t have a store to announce yet, but the Whole Foods decision should help encourage other grocery companies to make the leap to uptown.
“It’s a testament to how desirable it is to be a part of Charlotte’s downtown fabric,” said Grubb. He declined to discuss which grocers his company has been talking with.
Whole Foods already has locations in Charlotte’s SouthPark area and in Huntersville. Another new store at Providence and Ardrey Kell in south Charlotte is slated to open in late 2016.
Attracting more retail options to uptown as the population grows has been a priority for Charlotte Center City Partners, which promotes development. In its 2014 State of the Center City report, the group said uptown has 56 shops, compared to 232 clubs and restaurants. That means many uptown dwellers have to drive to meet many of their shopping needs.
The southern side of uptown is seeing a surge of building right now, as is nearby South End, which was recently identified in a study by MPF Research as the fastest-growing apartment submarket in the nation.
The parcel of land where the planned Crescent Uptown/Whole Foods development will sit has been owned by the city of Charlotte. The city accepted Crescent’s $10.3 million bid to buy the land last year.
Down the street, Crescent is also building a 27-story office tower at Stonewall and Tryon streets. The company has said it plans to break ground on that project this summer.
Nearby, a 230-unit upscale apartment building is opening this year at Stonewall and McDowell streets. Portman Holdings is planning to build a 19-story office tower at 615 S. College St., also breaking ground this summer. Together, the developments will bring thousands of workers and residents to uptown Charlotte over the next few years – many of them likely urban professionals who fit Whole Foods’ target demographic.