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.
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)