Whole Foods coming to midtown?

Upscale grocer Whole Foods Market is closing in on a deal to open a midtown Sacramento store, several people familiar with commercial real estate said.

wholefoods

Those same people, including brokers and developers with intimate knowledge of downtown development, said there’s also a leading candidate for a location: the site of a parking garage on the north side of L Street, between 20th and 21st streets.

But no one with direct knowledge of any possible deal — including store representatives, the property owner and leasing agent working with Whole Foods — would confirm that the store has signed a lease or letter of intent.

“I can’t confirm that at this time. We announce all our new stores/newly signed leases on quarterly earnings calls,” Whole Foods spokeswoman Beth Krauss wrote in an email earlier this month. The company did not mention a new Sacramento location in a subsequent earnings call.

The L Street property, which was primarily used by the California Air Resources Board until the agency moved elsewhere, is owned by Pappas Investments, coincidentally headquartered across the street. The company did not return calls seeking comment.

Employees at businesses around the L Street property said they’ve heard a seven-story parking structure is being developed for the site, and more parking would be built on another lot a block away, on the northeast corner of Capitol and 21st Street, also owned by Pappas Investments. Former office buildings also on the L Street property appear vacant and mostly stripped.

City officials said they, too, have heard rumors for awhile about Whole Foods coming to the city core, but had no solid sense of when or where. City planners said the company hasn’t approached them about a development application, and City Councilman Steve Hansen, whose district includes midtown, said he also hadn’t heard much.

“I wish I knew something,” Hansen said. “I know certainly in that neighborhood people are looking for more grocery options.”

One commercial real estate broker suggested two other possible sites: The former Crystal Ice plant at 16th and R streets, and property owned by The McClatchy Co. on the northeast corner of 21st and Q streets.

But the latter seemed unlikely because McClatchy pulled the property off the market last year when it was in escrow, with a Whole Foods the likely future tenant at the time, the broker said.

While Whole Foods would be a new entrant to midtown, the popular store already is established in the region, with stores on Arden Way in Sacramento and in Davis, Folsom and Roseville.

Source: Sac Biz Journal

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