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Whole Foods Coming to Columbia

Find out when the store is expected to open.

Whole Foods has signed a lease with the Howard Hughes Co. to open a store at the former Rouse Company Headquarters in Downtown Columbia.

Store officials note the Columbia market will offer "the highest quality natural and organic products." The Whole Foods Market will occupy 45,000 square feet of the 151,000 square foot building on the level adjacent to the parking lot on Little Patuxent Parkway, according to a press release.

"Opening in Columbia is an excellent opportunity for us to plant solid roots, encourage economic growth, job creation and community engagement," wrote Scott Allshouse, Mid-Atlantic region president for Whole Foods.

The announcement of the entrance of Whole Foods into the Columbia market, first reported on the food blog Howchow, comes about one month  of store space on the 8800 block of McGaw Road.

Do you think Ellicott City could use a "high end" grocery store? Tell us in the comments.

After restoration and renovation efforts are completed on the building, Whole Foods will likely open in late summer or early fall of 2014, according to a press release. The Howard Hughes Co. will undertake the restoration, which will include "creating a spectacular double height space for the store by removing the floor above the main level in the building," according to a release.

"Along with the recently approved plans for the new , Whole Foods coming to the Rouse Building serves as a catalyst for creating the vibrant, walkable more urban setting envisioned for Downtown Columbia," said John DeWolf, senior vice president of the Howard Hughes Co., according to a release.

The building opened in 1974 as the headquarters of the Rouse Company, which was operated by Columbia founder James W. Rouse. The building was designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry. Both parties said in the release they "intend to honor and enhance the unique architecture of the iconic building."

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, DeWolf, and Jill McCarthy of Whole Foods will make a formal announcement about Whole Foods coming to Columbia on Thursday at 11 a.m. in front of the former Rouse Building in Downtown Columbia.

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Elle July 26, 2012 at 03:43 PM
A grocery store at the lakefront? What a stupid idea!
Ruth July 26, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Really stupid location. Between the traffic and the lack of parking, I don't know what they're thinking.
Mary Donegan July 27, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Maybe now the downtown area will really become a real area for 'living people' As long as they keep the facade of that building I'm OK with it. People in the downtown,and Wildelake Village need a decent Supermarket badly. I think Whole Foods will be more mainstream that David's. We need some density downtown!!
Ken March 25, 2013 at 11:09 AM
Actually it is a great idea. Columbia needs an anchor store / grocer downtown that will attract attention and bring people to that location if you are ever going to have any chance of transforming the waterfront. The store will do well with their prepared foods for lunch and dinner; and Whole Foods has a very loyal customer base who will drive to that store to shop. Plenty of parking as the Rouse building sits 3/4 empty. This is a great move

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