It’s official: Whole Foods coming to Savannah

Whole Foods Market announced officially today that it’s coming to the former Backus Cadillac property in Savannah.

From the company’s second quarter financial report, released moments ago:

The Company opened three stores in the second quarter. In the third quarter, the Company has opened four stores and
expects to open five additional stores, including one relocation. The Company currently has 324 stores totaling
approximately 12.3 million square feet.

The Company recently signed eight new leases averaging 38,600 square feet in size in North Burnaby, B.C.; Alpharetta, GA; Savannah, GA; Maple Grove, MN; Albany, NY; Brooklyn, NY; Memphis, TN; and Toronto, Ontario. These stores currently are scheduled to open in fiscal year 2013 and beyond.

For a long time, I was very skeptical that Whole Foods would be interested in that property, but 3 months ago it all became clear.

Not only has the site owner S.J. Collins Enterprises developed numerous properties for Whole Foods (see here, here, and here), but the new configuration of turn lanes from Victory Drive will address traffic problems. Without significant changes to Victory Drive, there was little chance of significant development on that site.

Development plan for the Whole Foods Market at the Backus Cadillac site

I heard from a couple of people complaining about the additional traffic that a Whole Foods would bring to that stretch of Victory, but grocery stores don’t produce surges at any particular time of day — and certainly not at rush hour. And the site will create much less intense problems than all the big boxes on the east side of the Truman.

And I heard from a couple of people who simply refused to believe that Whole Foods was coming to Savannah — not even when I told them that the developer posted my column about the likelihood of a Savannah Whole Foods on its own website.

I’ve mentioned Whole Foods in a number of blog posts, including one about changing the business model that makes Savannah a surprisingly good fit for the chain.

I’m sure you’ll be reading a whole, whole lot more about this in the next few days.

UPDATE, 5:23 p.m.: Here’s the tweet from Whole Foods PR:

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