Whole Foods to Move into Downtown Columbia

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An artist’s rendering of the future Whole Foods.

Downtown Columbia is going to host a new 45,000-square-foot Whole Foods sometime in 2014. The grocery store will occupy the former Rouse Co. headquarters in a Frank Gehry-designed building (one of the acclaimed architect’s tamer efforts).

The natural foods behemoth is key to an effort by the Howard Hughes Corp. to “transform” Downtown Columbia, which, in addition to the Whole Foods, will see a six-story apartment and shopping complex erected next to The Mall. The grocery store will be most important, in my opinion, as an oasis of free samples in the “vibrant, walkable” downtown that developers envision.

We’ll have to wait and see if Whole Foods will be able to siphon off any Wegmans devotees, who, by 2014, may be far too indoctrinated to patronize a competing grocery store.

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