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Whole Foods Market Could Open in the Spring

The chain signed a lease in 2010 to open a store in the former Tall Mouse craft store space at the Aliso Village shopping center but there has been little to no activity.

A new  in Laguna Niguel, but to date, not much has happened at 23932 Aliso Creek Rd. However, that could change soon but shoppers shouldn't grab their canvas grocery bags quite yet.

At one time, there was some speculation that the market would open in February 2012, but that is not a likely scenario, according to those close to the project. 

A New Home

When Whole Foods does move into its new home at the 126,000-square-foot Aliso Village shopping center, it will be among various tenants including retail, office, personal service and restaurants. The center is situated at the intersection of La Paz Road and Alicia Parkway and is owned by Shapell Properties. At one time, the Whole Foods space was a Pavilions grocery store prior to Tall Mouse crafts.

About a year ago, Whole Foods secured a lease agreement to take over the site. Project plans were subsequently submitted to the city in April to allow for the market to come to the center and for design consideration of an extensive storefront remodel. The project was approved by the Planning Commission in June. 

Among the improvements planned for the 40,500-square-foot market:

  • A 1,150-square-foot mezzanine. 
  • An 805-square-foot covered outdoor seating area.
  • A minor-use permit that will allow the outdoor display of fresh produce, flowers and other merchandise.
  • A net increase of two parking stalls in the center's parking lot.
  • Exterior storefront remodel. 
  • Modern wall signage.

Next Steps

Moving forward on Sept. 30, Whole Foods Market representatives submitted further construction-level drawings to the city's building department.

"The building department has completed their initial plan check, and Whole Foods is currently addressing their plan check corrections. Once all of the plan check corrections have been addressed, the city will be in a position to issue building permits and they can start construction," said senior planner John Morgan. 

In the meantime, Whole Foods “may choose to phase the project by starting with demo work to prep the site before any of the actual remodeling construction,” he said. 

Essentially, this means that the store's construction team can send in a demolition crew to get the store prepped before any actual construction starts.

"We expect demo should begin fairly soon at the former Tall Mouse store," Morgan said. 

Morgan, however, does not "believe it will open before February 2012 as previously speculated." 

Included as a part of the Whole Foods’ approval, a condition of approval requires Shapell Properties to remodel the entire center, which was built in the 1980s. They have asked for renovation plans to be submitted by June 2012.

"The center has an outdated appearance they [Whole Foods] thought," Morgan said.

Whole Foods Market representatives could not be reached for comment.

Fast Facts About Whole Foods: 

  • Founded in 1980, in Austin, Texas
  • 58,000 Team members worldwide, of which 81 percent are full time
  • 300 stores in 38 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, Canada and the U.K.
  • As of Jan. 2011, 52 leases have been signed for new stores
  • Existing stores average 37,600 square feet, while stores in development average 39,000 square feet
  • Ninth largest food and drug store in the U.S.
  • Number 284 on the FORTUNE 500 list
  • $9.0 billion in sales in fiscal year 2010
  • $2.1 billion in sales in the fourth quarter of 2010
  • 19 successful acquisitions
  • More than 2,400 store brand products

(Source: Whole Foods Markets)

Rich B October 27, 2011 at 06:13 PM
The addition of Whole Foods will most likely impact Ralph's across the street. They once had a good natural and organic section but then dismantled it. Von's does a good job with their organic and natural foods. Sprout's is another story. They are relatively close and their business could be impacted because of similar product lines. It will be interesting to see what goes into this store. A good cafe and seating area will make it a winner.
Debbie L. Sklar (Editor) October 28, 2011 at 02:11 AM
Richard: That could be a good story down the road. Seems like we have our fill of grocery stores here in LN.
GreenInOC November 06, 2011 at 06:38 PM
Sprouts selection of organic foods in general is pretty slim and the organic produce is shockingly small. Having said that, the newer Whole Foods markets have a very small selection of organic either. Whole Foods has become a gigantic food court that people incorrectly believe is filled with organic and/or healthy foods. A couple of years ago I went to the Whole Foods in Irvine to pick-up one item. I normally shop at the Laguna Woods Mother's Market but figured since I fought for parking, I might as well do my normal grocery shopping. I was shocked to discover that the 60,000 sf store had FEWER organic and healthy options than the tiny Mother's Market!
Terry Webb December 12, 2011 at 02:53 PM
I still miss Bristol Farms...
Debbie L. Sklar (Editor) December 12, 2011 at 06:36 PM
Terry: Gelsons is pretty close if you need your Bristol Farms fix!
Imanindependent1 March 24, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Gelsons is nowhere as good as Bristol Farms! And, Gelsons prices are genrally outrageous.
Debbie L. Sklar (Editor) March 24, 2012 at 12:39 AM
@Independent: I'd have to agree with you, we need a gourmet-style market with low prices if there is such a thing.
Imanindependent1 March 24, 2012 at 12:41 AM
Gelson isn't as good as Bristol Farms!

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