Whole Foods seems to have figured out that a mall setting shouldn’t be a real estate deterrent. In fact, it might be a real asset.
The grocer has been stretching its site-selection wings over the last couple of years, but has positively taken flight with its latest opening – a 32,000-sq.-ft. store at the Fashion Island regional shopping center in Orange County, Calif.
The Irvine Co. center is a dandy – featuring Nordstrom, the county’s only Neiman Marcus, an upscale cinema and a new Apple flagship store, with tony Newport Beach as its surrounds.
In fact, Irvine’s $100-million redevelopment of its iconic property has brought in 40 new stores since 2010 plus a lineup of interesting dining options.
But, says Irvine, the newly opened Whole Foods represents a real milestone. It is the organic grocer’s fifth in Orange County, but its first in a regional center setting and it marks a Newport Beach debut. Whole Foods has a few new tricks up its sleeve for this new location, unveiling the first “Tea Hive” fusion café and tea bar for the company, as well as a beer and wine bar coined Back Bay Tavern. This most definitely isn’t your mother’s supermarket.
“Whole Foods will further enhance Fashion Island’s mix of eclectic, one-of-a-kind stores and lend to the unique customer experience of the center,” said Dan Sheridan, president of Irvine Co. Retail Properties.