Whole Foods Market coming to The Waterfront next year
Wichita Business Journal by John Stearns, Reporter
The Waterfront has landed its big fish:Whole Foods Market Inc.
The well-known natural and organic foods retailer said in an investor conference call Wednesday that it’s coming to Wichita, and The Waterfront’s Stephen Clark IIconfirmed that Whole Foods Market will be the anchor tenant for The Waterfront’s new retail center on the northwest corner of 13th and Webb Road.
The store’s target opening date is Nov. 16, 2013.
“It’s huge,” Clark says of Whole Foods Market’s plans, which he expects to entice additional tenants to Waterfront Plaza, the new retail center across Webb Road from the existing Waterfront development. “Everybody wants to be next to Whole Foods.”
It’s huge for all of Wichita, he adds.
“Retailers that wouldn’t have considered Wichita will see this, and they’ll think about Wichita now,” says Clark, who manages projects at The Waterfront for its two principals — his father, Steve Clark, andJohnny Stevens.
Clark Investment Group has been working on landing Whole Foods Market for about two years, Stephen Clark says.
Whole Foods Market will be across 13th Street across from the Country Club Plaza office building and just east of Wichita Collegiate School. Proximity to the school proved attractive for Whole Foods, Clark says.
“That’s our customer,” Clark says of the parents dropping off their children each day at the private school.
In a written statement, Ben Friedland, executive marketing coordinator for Whole Foods Market’s Rocky Mountain Region, says: “We are thrilled to be coming to Wichita and especially to locate at The Waterfront. We believe Wichitans will be very pleased with their store. No two Whole Foods Markets are the same — this store will be a direct reflection of the local community and will be unlike any other in the company.”
Clark Investment Group will build the 30,000-square-foot store for Whole Foods Market, which will lease the space. Clark Investment Group also will build a 5,000-square-foot space immediately north for another tenant and another space of 15,400 square feet immediately north of that for as many as 11 shops.
Those three buildings, comprising 50,400 square feet, will cost $7 million to $8 million to build and comprise Waterfront Plaza’s first phase. Future phases will include a north-end anchor space of 16,000 square feet, a 4,000-square-foot pad-site building, and a separate bank building at 8,000 square feet.
Clark Investment Group is talking to possible tenants for the 5,000-square-foot space next to Whole Foods, national tenants that would be new to Wichita, Clark says.
The Waterfront will be bustling on both sides of Webb Road over the next year. Earlier this month Clark Investment Group announced plans for two new office buildings on the east side of Webb Road, and work there could begin in three to four months.
Waterfront Plaza is being designed by architectural firm Law Kingdon.
Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate will be marketing the retail space being built alongside Whole Foods Market.
According to Whole Foods’ news release, plans call for the store to have its traditional fresh, organic produce; fresh meat and seafood markets; other groceries, including a bulk food area; a coffee bar; a bakery; and an extensive prepared foods section. The store will have an inside dining area as well as an outdoor café.
Asked about Whole Foods Market's entry into an area of Wichita that is suddenly crowded with new competitors like The Fresh Market, Green Acres Market, Natural Grocers and Dillons Marketplace, Clark says, “Whole Foods is Whole Foods.”
And there’s enough room in the market for them, he says