City: Whole Foods says it is still committed to South Lake Tahoe location
Whole Foods still plans on opening a location at the under-construction Bijou Marketplace in South Lake Tahoe.
The news comes less than two months after Whole Foods announced it is abandoning its 365 stores — a smaller and cheaper version of Whole Foods comparable to a Trader Joe’s. Yahoo broke the news of Whole Foods’ intentions in early January.
Whole Foods intended to open one of its 365 stores at the Bijou Market Place, formerly the site of the Knights Inn motel.
The company signed a lease through May 2039, the Tribune previously reported.
Whole Foods, which was purchased by Amazon in 2017, has not responded to numerous inquires from the Tribune in the past concerning the fate of the planned store.
According to a city memo, Whole Foods remains committed to operating in South Lake Tahoe.
“It is our understanding from the Developer that Whole Foods continues its commitment to operate a store in South Lake Tahoe,” Kevin Fabino, the city’s director of development services, wrote in a memo. “We did receive from the general contractor minor modifications to the building related to isles and shelving.”
The modifications to the inside of the store would support other media reports stating that Whole Foods intends to open regular stores at some planned 365 sites that have yet to open. Because of the smaller footprint of 365 stores, converted stores might lack features like a full-service meat counter, according to Yahoo.
The developer of the property, Halferty Development Company, informed city officials that they plan on meeting with Whole Foods early next week, at which point they should be able to provide an updated construction schedule, including a potential opening date.
While a Chase Bank location has opened in the Bijou Market Place, the other buildings, including the site of the planned Whole Foods, remain under construction.
Aside from the bank, Panda Express and Five Guys also plan to open locations in the market place. Hub Coffee and a nail salon also are planned for the property, which would leave four more spaces in need of tenants.
The city of South Lake Tahoe purchased the former Knights Inn from owner Pradip Patel for $5.9 million in early 2017 with the goal of creating a project that would be economically and environmentally beneficial.
Along with the development, the overall project aims to improve the watershed by daylighting the creek, creating stormwater treatment basins, and restoring a portion of the 850-acre watershed that extends up to Heavenly Mountain Resort and down through Ski Run Marina, the Tribune previously reported.