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Whole Foods to open downtown L.A. store in 2015

July 31, 2013|By David Pierson
  • Whole Foods would join Ralphs as the only major grocers in downtown Los Angeles.
Whole Foods would join Ralphs as the only major grocers in downtown Los Angeles.

Premium grocery chain Whole Foods Market Inc. will open its first downtown Los Angeles store in 2015, a major development in the neighborhood's gentrification efforts.

The new store, which had long been rumored, will occupy 42,000 square feet inside a luxury apartment complex at 770 Grand Ave.

Whole Foods will join Ralphs as the only major grocers downtown -- a neighborhood with an increasingly hip and well-heeled residential population.

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"We've been looking for the right space for close to 10 years as we know that access to natural and organic foods in the neigborhood has been challenging," said Patrick Bradley, president of Whole Foods Market Southern Pacific Region, in a statement released by L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar's office Wednesday. Huizar's 14th council district includes downtown.

The downtown branch would be the 23rd Whole Foods store in L.A. County, according to the company's website.

The Austin, Texas, chain currently operates 355 stores in the U.S., Canada and Britain. The company recently signed leases to open 12 new stores by 2014 and beyond, according to its third-quarter earnings report.

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Downtown has seen its population soar five-fold in the last decade to 50,000 and has added a host of retail locations such as City Target and Brooks Bros. Also, Macy's Plaza is being renovated.

"Downtown Los Angeles is like a city within the city that needs a diverse range of services – including grocery stores," Huizar said in a statement.  "Bringing Whole Foods Market to downtown is long-awaited news that represents a major coup."

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