Whole Foods confirms rumors of new Berkeley store

Gilman Master Plan_012813_1B

Master plan for the Gilman shopping district showing the location of the new Whole Foods and the relocated Office Depot. (Click to view larger.) Courtesy: Avila Design

Whole Foods has confirmed it will build a second Berkeley store at 10th and Gilman streets on the site currently occupied by Office Depot.

The grocery chain made the announcement after its earnings report today, confirming the news that Berkeleyside reported in November. The tentative opening date is fall 2014.

The store will be an estimated 30,500 square feet, and construction will begin late this year, once Office Depot relocates across the street.

Read more about the new Gilman shopping district on Berkeleyside.

Rob Twyman, president of Whole Foods Market’s Northern California and Reno region, estimates the new store will bring approximately 200 new jobs to Berkeley.

The developer of what is being termed the Gilman District project, which includes both Whole Foods and Office Depot, is Foothill Partners and The Pratt Company working together as Foothill Pratt Ventures.

Douglas Wiele, managing partner at Foothill Partners, said: “I’m delighted with the commitment from Whole Foods Market to our vision for the property, restoring to the neighborhood to a vibrant retail shopping district… I’m also pleased that Foothill and Whole Foods Market were able to reflect community sustainability values by reusing existing structures and improvements in putting the Gilman District project together, rather than engaging in the construction of new buildings at the site.”

Construction of the new Office Depot store, within other existing buildings, at the property is already under way.

Wiele told Berkeleyside that, as part of the build-out, the developers will install traffic signals to help drivers access and leave the store. The lights will likely be at the intersection of Ninth and Gilman, or possibly at 10th and Gilman. “It can be difficult to get on and off Gilman,” he said. “The city did not require traffic improvements, but we volunteered to install signals.”

Whole Foods telegrah

Whole Foods currently has one Berkeley store on Telegraph at Ashby. Photo: Tracey Taylor

Avila Design of Berkeley is the lead architect. Interior store design will be led by the Whole Foods Market Northern California construction and design team. The new store will be built within the existing building and parking at the site will be increased by reconstruction of an adjacent structure.

Dusan Motolik of Avila Design said the Whole Foods, will have a second story whose use has not yet been determined, but could be for storage or offices.

Motolik said the new store and future plans by the developers should help revitalize this part of West Berkeley as a shopping district. “The developers have a passion for new use and expanding commercial use. This should help define a new shopping district in this part of town.”

In a statement, Kevin Pratt of The Pratt Company said Foothill-Pratt was thrilled to be “bringing old buildings back to life, and reinvigorating the neighborhood with new life and new businesses. In particular, the creation of more space for local artists to do their work is especially gratifying.”

Whole Foods’ one Berkeley store is on Telegraph Avenue and Ashby. In September, Whole Foods terminated a lease agreement it had with UC Berkeley for a grocery store and senior housing project designed to be built at University Village in Albany. The decision came in the wake of lawsuits filed against the city that sought to delay or cancel the project, for which negotiations had already been ongoing for five years.

Although 30,000 square feet is considered small for a chain like Whole Foods, the Austin, TX-based retailer is pursuing a strategy of opening smaller stores as they cost less to build and are highly productive.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the Gilman District Whole Foods Market store is planned for this summer.

Correction: A sentence which referred to the area Whole Foods is going into as being “zoned for ‘mixed use light industrial'” has been removed as this is incorrect.

Whole Foods likely to open second store in Berkeley [11.21.13]

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  • Tej (pr. Tage)

    I live on Ninth, a few blocks from here. I’m excited about the store but I’m really unhappy about the traffic impact we’ll see on our street. Anyone know if there’s any impact study?

  • DW

    I love the Whole Foods region name – “Northern California and Reno”

  • Bill N

    The map is really hard to read but they better have some sort of traffic mitigation plan with a traffic light at 9th and controlled exits from their parking lots and not let people try and leave the lot and cross at 10th to get to San Pablo or onto Gilman going east.

  • ketchup fingers

    Can Berkeleyside not include a bigger map, please?

  • ketchup fingers
  • Guest

    I think this is good news. I rarely shop at Whole Foods due to cost, but I go sometimes for convenience (there’s one right by my non-Berkeley workplace) or specialty items and I’ve never been anything but pleased with the quality of their stock. The existing Berkeley Whole Foods and both Berkeley Bowls are all relatively far from my home, so I’m excited to have this on the same side of town. Very nice to hear that they’ll be installing traffic signals, but I can’t imagine the project leading to too much congestion in a part of town that’s generally pretty straightforward and easy to get around from a traffic perspective.

  • jjohannson

    The city, state and feds need to get their collective act together right now to install a functional rotary at the I-80 Gilman exit with safe bike and pedestrian bypass. Any prospective increase in traffic through that zone — which the Whole Foods project will certainly generate — demands a responsible and immediate solution.

    It is the most dysfunctional intersection I have seen anywhere in the United States.

  • Guest

    I’m surprised there isn’t an accident every day at that intersection. Trying to cross Gilman on the ESH (or turn left on Gilman, coming from Target) is an invitation to disaster.

  • John Holland

    Just a friendly that the CEO of Whole Foods opposes health care for all. It’s why I don’t just boycott Whole Foods, I’m never shopping there, ever.

  • Mrdrew3782

    whatever happened to that round-a-bout design that the city floated around not to long ago. That should be built before the store goes in. Traffic is already bad enough. Cars go too fast, the homeless push their carts down the middle of the street, and pedestrians don’t bother with cross walks because for the most part there aren’t any. I can’t fathom what will happen when a train passes through and everything comes to a standstill. With that said a grocery store will be a great addition to the neighborhood.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    … the Taylor Swift of grocery shoppers…

  • PragmaticProgressive

    Yes, there was even a video report: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UFc1pr2yUU

  • y_p_w

    My big worry is that this will affect my commute. As it currently stands, Gilman slows down a lot when someone makes a turn. The area is not built for high-traffic businesses and commuters trying to get to I-80 will be backed up if there’s any substantial increase in traffic.

    As it stands right now, this area gets traffic issues every time The North Face Outlet has a sample sale. Whole Foods will have substantially more traffic.

  • irisandjules

    Actually, he called healthcare for all fascist.

  • Chris

    Gilman from I-80 to San Pablo is a ridiculous mess. It should be 4 lanes the whole way with a proper rotary at I-80.

  • A. Guest

    Or, more likely, people will take city streets to get there. This is a regional grocery store, not a CostCo.
    That intersection is bad, but unrelated to this project.

  • duh

    Not shopping there ever IS a boycott.

  • JL

    PLEASE BOYCOTT WHOLE FOODS! The owner has called the Obama health care law fascist, and he has also taken positions against both labor unions and human-caused climate change. (Try Andronico’s – they have been making their stores much more healthy-eating friendly than they already were. And they are local I’ve gone back to them).

  • JL

    PLEASE BOYCOTT WHOLE FOODS! The owner has called the Obama health care
    law fascist, and he has also taken positions against both labor unions
    and human-caused climate change. (Try Andronico’s – they have been
    making their stores much more healthy-eating friendly than they already
    were. And they are local. I’ve gone back to them).

  • Tizzielish

    I haven’t been in an Andronico’s in a long time, definitely not since they were recently bought, altho my absence is unrelated to their purchase. I don’t go to Andronico’s because they typically charge even more than Whole Foods. I have never understood why anyone would shop at an Andronico’s. Maybe they are doing better with new ownership but, geez, in the past, I have been repeatedly stunned by the nerve they had to charge the prices they charge. It amazed me they lasted at all.

  • Tizzielish

    Try Berkeley Bowl, avoid Whole Foods and why would anyone without money to burn shop at Andronico’s. Maybe Andronico’s sells some things that some consumers want and can’t find else where but not me. Their price gouging stuns me. Berkeley Bowl seems downright affordable after WF and Andronico’s. I am surprised you push Andronico’s and ignore our local grocer, Berkeley Bowl.

  • 3rdGenBerkeleyan

    a boycott is usually temporary…never is usually permanent.

  • 3rdGenBerkeleyan

    we cant even figure out signs at the marin circle roundabout and you want us to build another one at a busier location?

  • JL

    PLEASE BOYCOTT WHOLE FOODS! The owner has called the Obama health care
    law fascist, and he has also taken positions against both labor unions
    and human-caused climate change. (I’ve gone back to Andronico’s – they’re local, too).

  • y_p_w

    I used to go there and generally only bought specials. One particular checker even recognized me as a regular. I used to go after A’s games and he’d ask.

    However, eventually everything went downhill and the specials dried up.

  • bingo

    it’s a scary intersection for me every time I go there. I spent a lot of time in boston and NYC, so it’s a pretty big statement for me to say it’s one of the worst i’ve ever seen in terms of a failure by a civil engineer/city planner

  • bingo

    we got it. message delivered. do we seriously have to report spam on berkeleyside? are you going to tell me how I can make $1,000/wk from home next?

  • JL

    what??? sorry, my post got in twice because I tried to edit it.

  • JL

    Andronico’s used to be local. I just googled, and found out that it was bought a couple of years ago. I do go to Berkeley Bowl, but they close at 8 or 6 on weekends – I wish they stayed open later like the other 2 do.

  • Some Infrastructure, Please

    I feel like I’m playing Russian Roulette when I drive through it. This week, I had occasion to walk through, since AC Transit couldn’t get me further west than Gilman/8th. Not a calm stroll.

    Given all the youth sports down at the Gilman fields at the bay end, you’d think the different government agencies would get their act together. Sadly, it might take some tragedy to get their butts in gear.

  • Or you could go to Trader Joe’s instead:

  • Loves Berkeley Natural

    Eww, NO!! who can afford that?? Are they trying to kill off the best little health food store on this side of Berkeley? Plus, it’s helpful having office supplies (plus) in the neighborhood filled with, uh, businesses..

  • Fran Haselsteiner

    Andronico’s workers are union members, which I wholeheartedly support.

  • Loves Berkeley Natural

    Ok, my bad. I see that office supplies will still be available. But I will say that the traffic( yes, last trip through San Pablo and Gilman had several of us stopping short when opposing traffic took our right of way, luckily we all stopped) and as I mention, the costs at Whole Foods, the fact that the last few times I went there ( used to get the occasional salad bar) the products I purchased, including boxed almond milk, chicken stock, and a few other things that were meant to have some shelf life, were so out of date, it should have been illegal. There shouldn’t be ANY out of date product on the shelves, especially at those prices! Berkeley seems to me to be a place that ought to support local business, as well as actually stand for important issues..Whole foods crosses so many lines! Of course some of those issues need to include the safety of local people, their access to safe streets, and lower stress due to more sensible public spaces. Driving, biking, boarding or walking around this town is frought with danger, mostly because so many citizens want it their way at every second! Some of the worst parking experiences I’ve had were in fact in the WF lot, in Berkeley. Everyone writing here about the traffic problems, I agree… It’ll actually be much much worse when WF comes in to spoil the party!

  • Fran Haselsteiner

    CalTrans is supposed to build the roundabout … someday. I think signals with turn signals could really improve safety there–maybe even better than a roundabout would.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    So the citizens of Berkeley “want it their way every second” but Berkeley should “stand for important issues.” How do you propose to achieve the consensus implied by the latter given the self-interested impulse of the former?

  • I go out of my way to avoid that intersection because I know I’m taking my car and possibly my life into my hands driving through it.

  • NW Berkeleyan

    Salon recently ran this article documenting “the Whole Foods effect” on neighborhoods (summed up by the title, “Whole Foods Is Coming. Time to Buy!”):


  • no thanks

    All roundabouts are bad roundabouts.

  • Get Real

    But he’s right partly – the Obama health care law is terrible.
    Forcing people to buy private insurance when the insurance system is such a scam and rates are continually skyrocketing for no good reason is insane. We need serious health care reform and single-payer insurance for everyone not this awful bastardized mess.

  • It’s Not Always About You

    If you don’t like it, don’t shop there. Nobody is forcing you.

  • Ottoasamotto

    The Office Depot is being moved to the other side of Gilman per the plan.

  • Guest

    I believe the Gilman Street x I80 improvement funding was included in Alameda County Measure B1 which was defeated in Nov 2012 election. So the project is dead / delayed / in limbo.

  • Fran Haselsteiner

    Something like metering lights perhaps.

  • Guest

    Yeah, I was thinking of Boston…the I-80 Gilman exit reminds me of how one got to the airport in the old days: get off I-93 and thread your way across an open square to the entrance to the Callahan Tunnel. Plus there were no signs giving the directions: one had to know ones way, or too bad.

  • health for all

    There is a grocery store near there. On Gilman. a very good, consciencious one, with friendly staff and organic produce. They really care about what is good for people to consume.

  • Loves Berkeley Natural

    don’t worry, I won’t. I don’t like spending too much on rotten/out of date foods. I don’t like getting hit in parking lots, or in neighborhoods around the store that I don’t want to shop at. Thanks, though, If I don’t look out for myself and my family, then, who will?

  • EBGuy

    How long do people give Berkeley Natural Grocery Company? Maybe a year after Whole Foods opens?

  • Tej

    Well now I’m just going to walk around the parking lot tossing keys in the air. Like I’m looking for my car. Slowly.

  • It’s Not Always About You

    Great, so don’t buy them and don’t go. Nobody is forcing you. Anyone who doesn’t bother to check the dates on packages before they buy them deserves whatever they get.