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Whole Foods to Open New Store on N. Broad St.
Updated 3:15 p.m.
Makin' groceries will soon return to N. Broad St. Whole Foods Market announced plans to move into the former Schwegmann's at the corner of Broad and Bienville Sts., bringing a hulking piece of blight back into commerce. The 25,000 sq. ft. store is set to open late in 2013, according to a statement issued by Whole Foods.
The neighborhood revitalization organziation Broad Community Connections purchased the store in the summer of 2012 with plans to create a fresh food option in the area. Trader Joe's and Whole Foods both surfaced as potential grocers that would move in to take the plaza's largest space, but Whole Foods apparently won out.
The Whole Foods statement indicated that the national retailer specializing in organic and fresh food planned to partner with local organizations. Before K, Whole Foods had a location in the Mid-City area at the corner of Esplanade and Ponce de Leon. That store became Canseco's Market after the Flood. The new store will bring Whole Foods back up to two in the Crescent City, adding to the always-bustling Arabella Station location Uptown.
Originally a Schwegmann's, the plaza at the corner of Broad and Bienville became Robert Fresh Market before being left vacant. Zulu Social Aide and Pleasure Club floated plans to purchase the building in spring, 2012, which apparently fell through.
Whole Foods is also planning a new store in Lafayette, set to open in 2014.
Broad Community Connections did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
UPDATE: The City of New Orleans provided additional information on the financing for the Whole Foods project this afternoon.
The City will award Broad Community Connections and, by extension, Whole Foods a $1 million grant from its Fresh Food Retailer Initiative. The grants are given to grocery store owners who plan to sell fresh produce in food deserts. Previous grants were given to the Circle Food Store and Central City's DaFresh. Broad Community Connections picked up an additional $900,000 for the project from the City's Commercial Corridor Revitalization Program. The Whole Foods Market will be one piece of a larger project in the former Schwegmann's.
"The long-awaited redevelopment of the old Schwegmann’s supermarket will be a welcomed sight for the surrounding communities in need of fresh produce options and the return to commerce of a once-bustling location. I welcome the return of Whole Foods Market to the heart of New Orleans and look forward to visiting its expanded location," City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell said in a statement.
Whole Foods plans to hire 80-100 people in the area, according to the City.
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