More on Whole Foods

Dateline: Thu 30 Nov 2006

Star biz reporter Jeff Swiatek has a story online and in the morning Star about Whole Foods with these interesting details:

" 'This is an exciting opportunity. We've been looking for the right location to move into Indianapolis for a long time,' said Whole Foods' Midwest regional president Patrick Bradley in a statement.

"The store will be almost twice as big as the typical 35,000-square-foot Whole Foods store. It will employ approximately 200 people. About 90 percent of its employees tend to be full time, compared with 40 percent at a typical supermarket, said Whole Foods' spokeswoman Kate Klotz.

"Whole Foods is a popular destination for food enthusiasts and often is courted by communities.

"But homeowners in the Driftwood Hills neighborhood have fought the development for more than a year and even sought an injunction to stop it.

Neighbors argued the city should not have rezoned the 13-acre, largely wooded site for commercial use because the tract is designated as residential in the city's comprehensive plan.

"However, Marion Superior Court Judge Gary L. Miller found that the rezoning was proper.

"Karen Hamilton, co-president of the neighborhood association, raised the prospect that the group might appeal the judge's finding, a move that could delay the store's opening. "We have certainly not ruled out further options," she said.

"Klotz said the store would open no earlier than late 2008.

The site is being developed by Paul Kite of PK Capital. He also plans to build 31 townhomes on the land.

"Whole Foods will compete locally in the organic-foods niche with Wild Oats, Trader Joe's, Fresh Market and Sunflower Market. Traditional supermarkets also have expanded their organic offerings in recent years."

By the way, the Driftwood neighborhood won the Marion County Alliance of Neighborhoods "bulldog award" for its persistence in resisting the development. Nora community leader Ruthie Hayes was adamant that Whole Foods was wanted on the Northside, but in another location, please. Too bad this has to be off to a rocky start, because having WF here as a store and employer is a good deal.

comments: ruth@ruthholladay.com

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