Construction to begin on Whole Foods market in downtown Tempe

Jul 12, 2017, 8:45 AM
(The Local Tempe Photo)...
(The Local Tempe Photo)
(The Local Tempe Photo)

PHOENIX — A year after approval by city leaders, ground has broken on a mixed-use project in downtown Tempe that includes apartments and an affordable Whole Foods market.

The Whole Foods Market 365 will be on the bottom floor of the nine-story Local at University Drive and Ash Avenue, with an anticipated opening in 2019.

It’s the first grocery store downtown in 15 years and the first of the chain’s downsized concept in the state.

“We are thrilled to announce that our region’s first Whole Foods Market 365 in Arizona store will be located in Tempe,” Patrick Bradley, president of Whole Foods Market Southern Pacific Region, said in a press release.

Bradley added the 365 markets differed from the main Whole Foods stores only in presentation, “a fun new format.”

The lot near the railroad tracks has been empty for years.

(Google Maps)

(Google Maps)

The city council approved the deal in June 2016. The upscale apartments will take up five floors (286 units); one floor of parking has been set aside for grocery shoppers.

Plans for the building, originally called The Foundry, included a fitness center and a bowling alley.

Some residents have expressed concern on social media about the development disrupting the neighborhood feel and pushing up home prices.

The city council unanimously approved the plan.

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Construction to begin on Whole Foods market in downtown Tempe