Whole Foods in St. Paul heading to Snelling Av.

  • Article by: JANET MOORE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 1, 2013 - 8:58 PM

Natural and organic grocer will anchor new apartment complex.

The Whole Foods store in St. Paul plans to relocate to an ambitious new development proposed for the intersection of Snelling and Selby Avenues.

Now in an older, and smaller, structure at Fairview Avenue and Grand Avenue, the Texas-based upscale grocer confirmed Thursday that it will open a 38,000-square-foot store in a project being developed by Ryan Cos.

Whole Foods Market Inc., the fast-growing $12 billion natural and organic grocery chain that will have six stores in the Twin Cities by year’s end, plans to open the new Union Park store in 2016. The existing store — which was Whole Foods’ original Twin Cities outlet — will remain open while the new one is constructed.

Whole Foods opened the location off Grand Avenue in 1995 — in a spot once occupied by an R.C. Dick’s grocery store. The company said it would increase the number of employees at the new site, but didn’t quantify its current or future employee count.

“The new store will give us a chance to serve our long-term customers and meet new ones in a larger location [that] offers an expanded selection and more amenities,” said Michael Bashaw, Whole Foods’ Midwest regional president, in a statement.

The new store will anchor a 210-unit apartment complex on a four-acre site now largely occupied by Associated Bank, which owns the land. A new branch for the bank will be constructed just north of the proposed grocery store/apartment complex along busy Snelling Avenue.

Construction of the project proposed by Minneapolis-based Ryan, which is undergoing city and neighborhood review, may begin by the end of the year, said Mark Schoening, the firm’s senior vice president for development. (Eden Prairie-based Excelsior Group is co-developer on the project.)

Ryan and Excelsior also teamed with Whole Foods on the $70 million 222 Hennepin mixed-use development in downtown Minneapolis. That project, anchored by a Whole Foods store at Hennepin and Washington Avenues, will include 286 luxury apartments on land that was once a car dealership. That grocery store is to open this fall.

Janet Moore • 612-673-7752

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