West Duluth is about to get their first true organic grocery store and let's be honest... it's about time.
Whole Foods Co-op announced plans for a second Duluth location this past year on a site along Grand Avenue that really hasn't had much attention paid to it in the last decade. Well, that is until a new CVS Pharmacy and retail center were constructed next to it this past year. It's all part of a larger redevelopment of a nearly block long site that began almost a decade ago with construction of ACME Tools new store. Since then we have seen the construction of CVS Pharmacy and a small retail center on site, while work is expected to begin on a new Subway location later this month.
The new location will be located at 4426 Grand Avenue and will be in a 14,000 square foot brick clad building custom built for Whole Foods Co-op. The building will be constructed on the back of the site and will have an angular site plan which will help alleviate some of the "blockading" happening on Grand Avenue. The construction of the store will also include the redevelopment of the current Jefferson Lines bus station which will become parking and a new entrance for the store. One of the nicest things about the West Duluth location is that it will feature ample parking, 70 spaces in all.
Parking might not seem like the biggest worry because after all it is just a grocery store. But if you're familiar with Whole Foods Co-op, then you know it's not just a regular grocery store. If you've been to the Hillside location then you know that in previous years a vacant parking spot could be a as hard to find as a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. In fact, parking was so bad that the co-op ended up purchasing the former MCCU branch building next door and tore it down in order to make room for new parking. People just can't get enough of Whole Foods Co-op.
The plans for the new Denfeld store will go before the Duluth Planning Commission tomorrow night during their monthly meeting. There are expected to be no issues and construction could start as soon as this fall with an opening sometime in late spring or early summer.
We're really excited to finally see the design for this new location. It's a modern building that seems to have adequately addressed the challenges of typical grocery store construction, or for any matter, big box retail construction. What we mean is that there is actually going to be a lot of light within this store. That is probably one of the most exciting things about the design besides the large use of brick. The sheer amount of windows included in the project is absolutely fantastic. It's not just about letting light into the store, but it's also about making the store feel more welcoming to the surrounding community. Windows are a glimpse into the soul of the building... a.k.a all those delicious organic products held within.