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Whole Foods To Locate in Downtown Columbia

Find out when the store is expected to open.

Whole Foods has signed a lease with Howard Hughes 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.

What do you think about Whole Foods coming to downtown Columbia? Tell us in 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. Howard Hughes 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 Howard Hughes, 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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Michael moneymaker August 06, 2012 at 06:06 PM
I just hope that if or when whole food builds this store they use local contractors and local people Mike
LWLora August 13, 2012 at 01:55 AM
LWLora A grocery store will be the heart of Columbia?...and specially Frank Gehry's building? Why not relocating the central library and making the heart of Columbia for all to enjoy. Converting this magnificent landmark into a grocery store is an absolutely disgrace!
A.R. August 15, 2012 at 03:05 AM
I love Whole Foods. Been in DC. Love that one is coming to this area. BUT, I would have loved it more if Catonsville could have had it. I'm sure it would fit in either of the rt 40 shopping centers that are razing and remodeling.
Victoria October 04, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Wegmans' organic greens like chard and kale are always totally limp or wilted. So, yes, poor quality and not much variety. Can't wait for whole foods!
Martha Lynn Metzker January 22, 2013 at 01:19 PM
A few years ago I would have been thrilled to think that Wholefoods was coming to Columbia (although I too question the lakefront location) -- but I am now so disgusted with the political statements of the WF CEO (comparing Obamacare to fascism) that I will not be able to shop there. I'll stick with MOMs and Davids and the organic section of the bigger stores.

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