Plans have emerged for what looks to be a Whole Foods Market on College Avenue in Fayetteville.
A large-scale development packet for a grocery store and retail center was submitted to the city last week on behalf of Georgia-based S.J. Collins Enterprises, developers of several recent Whole Foods stores in the South.
While the application doesn’t name any specific planned tenants, preliminary elevation drawings clearly show a Whole Foods Market logo on the front facade of a building to be constructed at 3535 N. College Ave. just north of Lewis Ford across from Superior Nissan.
The 6.6-acre site was once home to a Mercedes-Benz dealership, and has been used for several businesses over the last 10 years. It’s the same location where Whole Foods officials were reportedly scouting for a Fayetteville store earlier this year.
Preliminary site plans show a 35,500-square-foot major tenant building and three smaller shop spaces with roughly 330 parking spaces and associated loading areas. Included with the site development is a new traffic signal at Masonic Drive, as recommended by the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department.
The Austin, Texas-based chain, which specializes in fresh, healthy, natural and organic food, would provide another specialty grocery option for area shoppers, meaning more competition for longtime Fayetteville organic co-op Ozark Natural Foods, and the recently opened Fresh Market store in Rogers.
The planned square footage for the Fayetteville store is in line with the retailer’s reported recent growth plans. Whole Foods has focused on stores of 30,000 to 35,000 square feet in the past few years, but is shifting back up to a range of 35,000 to 45,000 square feet, officials told Supermarket News last year.
Company executives have said they want to expand to 1,200 stores throughout the country, nearly three times the number they currently operate worldwide.
Whole Foods currently has only one location in Arkansas – on Rodney Parham Road in Little Rock – but includes a new Little Rock store (likely a relocation of the current store) on its online list of 99 stores in development in the U.S.
Fayetteville officials said Monday the earliest the documents could be reviewed is during the April 16 Technical Plat meeting.
Officials from Whole Foods and S.J. Collins Enterprises did not immediately respond to inquiries about the possible Fayetteville location.