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Hyde Park waits again for Whole Foods

Updated: February 5, 2014 6:21PM



Whole Foods Market has pushed back the opening of a Hyde Park store until 2016 — the second delay in debuting its first Chicago store south of Roosevelt.

No exact date has been set for the 2016 opening.

“We want to make sure everything is just right in each store, so if we have to push back the opening date so that it’s perfect for that neighborhood, we will,” said spokeswoman Allison Phelps. “We want to open a store that the community will love and embrace.”

The site is on the ground floor of a 180-unit condo tower slated to replace the Village Shopping Center at the southwest corner of Hyde Park Boulevard and Lake Park. The new development is called City Hyde Park and was designed by renowned architect Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects.

The Whole Foods store was first set to open in summer 2014. It was pushed off again, to 2015, last fall.

A spokesman for the land owner, Antheus Capital, said that the shopping center has been demolished, and the condo-retail construction is set to start in March.

The 30,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market, expected to employ 125 full- and part-time workers, is slated to have about 175 free underground parking spaces.

The store will include décor reflecting the Hyde Park neighborhood, large fresh-food and bulk-good sections, a sit-down bar and pouring station serving beer and wine, and a cooking classroom with tips on eating fresh and healthy foods, Michael Bashaw, president of Whole Foods’ Midwest region, said in a May 2011 interview with the Sun-Times.

The Whole Foods Market site at 5105 S. Harper is two blocks north of Harper Court, a shopping center that includes a hotel, retail and office complex and is a centerpiece of the University of Chicago’s efforts to redevelop the area.

Meanwhile, Whole Foods announced Wednesday it will employ a total of 1,000 new workers with the opening of seven former Dominick’s locations, the Hyde Park site and two others planned by 2017 — one in the Englewood neighborhood and the other in suburban Lake Forest.

Email: sguy@suntimes.com

Twitter: @sandraguy



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