ENCINITAS — Construction of the new Whole Foods Market is in full swing at Pacific Station. The 23,000-square-foot store will serve as the anchor tenant for the Pacific Station development, which combines office and retail space with upscale residential units in the increasingly popular “mixed-use” scheme.
Completion and occupancy of the downtown area’s only full-service grocery store are scheduled for this June.
After announcing its intention to open the store in 2007, residents have been waiting with anticipation for the Whole Foods to open its doors. “I’m not sure if the wait is really worth all of the hype,” said Jennifer Bolucci, an Encinitas resident. “But I’m going to be one of the first in line for sure.”
According to Kerry Kusiak, a city senior planner, Whole Foods applied for a building permit in June 2010. It was approved last month and construction began soon afterward.
The new market is designed to be a community hub with a courtyard eating area and a wide variety of cooking, eating and educational events created to serve the neighborhood according to company officials.
“Pacific Station is a great space with a wide variety of attractions for the community to enjoy. This location is the first new retail space in downtown Encinitas in more than 20 years and is an ideal place for us to introduce Whole Foods Market to the Encinitas neighborhood,” said Patrick Bradley, president of the store’s Southern Pacific Region. “Whether it’s ingredients for cooking delicious meals at home or convenient snacks to take to the beach, we have everything our customers need and are excited to showcase all the best of natural and organic foods.”
But some residents wonder if the upscale market will be a detriment as it may bring more traffic from outside the community. “It’s being billed as a neighborhood grocery store but I think most people in Encinitas already have plenty of options for good organic food,” said Jon Barton, an Encinitas resident. “It’s probably just going to bring more people from north of the city who don’t want to drive all the way to La Jolla (the closest Whole Foods Market).” He added that the area does not have adequate parking to accommodate the new traffic that the store will generate.