Internet Fuels Whole Foods Speculation

By on Thursday, March 20th, 2008 at 4:50 pm

The original Whole Foods rumor was started shortly after Jersey City’s first two yuppies met each other. Years later, there’s still no Whole Foods, and the rumors keep swirling.

One such rumors was started here, on April 1, 2006, posting alongside such headlines as “West Side Stadium Heads West: Hoboken Jets to Play 2008 Season” and “Staten Island Concedes, Hudson County Becomes Fifth Borough” a short blurb suggesting Whole Foods was coming to Jersey City. April 1st is also known as April Fool’s Day, a holiday celebrating practical jokes.

Six months later, a Jersey Journal article ran suggesting Whole Foods would eventually become an anchor tenant in Liberty Harbor North. Developer Peter Mocco would not then confirm his development was in negotiations with Whole Foods.

Meanwhile, Whole Foods continued to roll out new stores across the river in Manhattan. Early in 2007, Whole Foods was rumored to be coming to Newport’s River Market, a retail block referring to the completed Shore Club and under construction Aqua tower. That grocery store turned out to be a Morton Williams, a 30,000 square foot space. That store is set to open in about a month.

Also in 2007, Mocco again confirmed Liberty Harbor was seeking a gourmet grocery store for for a major retail building on the corner of Grand Street and Jersey Avenue. However, Whole Foods was not definite, with Wegmans and Trader Joe’s being suggested as alternatives by real estate agents.

The most recent rumor began today when a poster on JCList mentioned contacting a representative from Northwest Atlantic Real Estate Services. Northwest provides real estate services to major retailers, including Whole Foods. The response from the agent was simply “There is something in the works.” Several hours later, new blog Grove Street “confirmed” the rumor. Accord to Grove Street blog, the representatives reply was “We are working on some stuff in jc. The exact location is still under wraps. Stay tuned.”

Such rumors immediately lead to speculation across the internet as where a new Whole Foods would be located. Whole Foods requires fifty to sixty thousand square feet, and prefers on site, dedicated parking, according to an old Whole Foods website. Obviously, Whole Food’s Manhattan outlets have forgone with dedicated parking. Whether or not the store would be willing to do the same in Jersey City is uncertain.

Given the size requirements, few planned retail spaces would provide large enough square footage for Whole Foods. Presently, no vacant, existing retail space downtown would accommodate the store. Newport, having just leased retail space to a competing store, won’t be inviting Whole Foods to any of their retail space anytime soon. The under construction 77 Hudson Street has only 20,000 feet of retail planned, according to the JC Reporter, and that space is divided.

One suggestion on JCList was that Whole Foods was partnering with the recently approved Toll Brothers Powerhouse development; such a deal would probably bolster sales for Toll. Toll’s outer borough properties have been rumored to be selling slowly, and the added amenity of a Whole Foods might be seen as a key component to the massive project. Another possibility would be that Liberty Harbor North finally closed a deal with Whole Foods for their planned retail structure. Other downtown projects currently under construction are not large enough for Whole Foods.

Regardless of its accuracy, the rumors once again are spreading across the internet. In all likelihood, today’s rumor is simply the usual hype of enthusiasts hoping for a Whole Foods.



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