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Whole Foods plans to build store in downtown Tempe

(Forum Real Estate Group Photo)

PHOENIX — A Whole Foods may be coming to downtown Tempe by 2018, according to City Council documents.

The council voted June 23 to approve the development plan of a Whole Foods grocery store along with a set of residential apartments and parking in the floors above on the vacant lot at the corner of University Drive and Ash Avenue.

The Whole Foods is planned for two stories with roll-up doors. Those doors are supposed to create an outdoor dining space on the ground and mezzanine levels of the building.

Project developers met in November to propose the building, which has been named the Foundry, to area residents. Comments summarized in the project’s development plan said most residents applauded the arrival of a grocery store in their neighborhood.

However, some also worried that a higher-end grocery store and luxury apartment complex would gentrify the area.

In response to the concerns, developers said that the apartments would be market rate and that Whole Foods has some affordable options, such as its 365 line.

According to the agreement, developers have two years to submit a building permit application for the project to the city.

Tempe already has a Whole Foods at Rural and Baseline roads.

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