Whole Foods headed to new downtown Nashville tower

Getahn Ward |
Source: The Tennessean


• 41,500-square-foot store would be third Nashville-area Whole Foods.

• Apartment building to have 362 units with another 6,000 square feet of restaurant/retail space ideal for two restaurants.

A Whole Foods grocery store will anchor the building planned for the former Nelson Mazda dealership site at downtown’s 12th and Broadway. The store will occupy ground-level space at the western end of the development near George L. Davis Boulevard and Interstate 40, Austin, Texas-based developer Endeavor Real Estate Group confirmed Thursday.

Endeavor’s plans call for a 27-story mixed-use tower with 362 apartments, the 41,500- square-foot store and another 6,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space near 12th and Broadway that’s ideal for two restaurants. Amenities will include a dog park, dog wash, cabanas near the swimming pool, a 27th-floor sky lounge, barbecue grills, fire pits, 24/7 concierge and an indoor-outdoor club lounge with a professional kitchen.

On Thursday the Downtown Code Design Review Committee approved allowing the developer additional height along Broadway instead of on 12th Avenue North.

“Whole Foods’ requirements drove a lot of the design,” said Jamil Alam, Endeavor’s managing principal. “Really our goal is to try to extend the walkability of the Gulch up to Broadway.”

Endeavor is known to have a close relationship with fellow Austin-based Whole Foods. In Austin’s Cedar Park suburb, Endeavor is the developer for a commercial project to be anchored by a new 365 by Whole Foods Market concept store for cost-conscious shoppers.

“Nashville is such a vibrant and exciting city, and we are thrilled to be opening a store downtown,” said Omar Gaye, president of Whole Foods Market’s South Region, in a statement. “We look forward to bringing fresh, healthy, delicious food to this growing area and its surrounding neighborhoods, as well as being a community gathering spot in such a thriving city.”

Groundbreaking for Endeavor’s Nashville project at 1200-1222 Broadway is anticipated in the fourth quarter with the apartments and Whole Foods to open in the fourth quarter of 2018. Alam likened the apartments as comparable to the nearby Twelve Twelve condominium tower, but rental units instead of condos.

Whole Foods has an additional Nashville store about four miles south of the former Mazda dealership site at 4021 Hillsboro Pike at the Hill Center Green Hills shopping center. There is also a store at 1566 W. McEwen Drive in Cool Springs.

An artist’s rendering of the building planned for the former Mazda dealership site on Broadway. (Photo: HKS)

The grocery store chain was founded in 1980 and operates 443 stores.

In a 2015 survey by the Nashville Downtown Partnership, Nashville’s urban dwellers said that grocery shopping was the most-needed resource downtown, especially with the ranks of urban residents expected to exceed 10,254 by the end of 2016, according to data from the Downtown Partnership.

Nashville urbanites have access to fresh foods at The Turnip Truck, The Southernaire, H.G. Hill Urban Market and the nearby Nashville Farmers’ Market in Germantown, but the largest market downtown is only one-fifth the size of an average Publix store.

“This will be a game-changer for not only the downtown residents, but all downtown users. Consistently, the residents and employees have asked for this option, and Whole Foods is a top choice for entry into the market,” said Crissy Cassetty, Nashville Downtown Partnership retail recruiter.

Reach Getahn Ward at 615-726-5968 and on Twitter @getahn. Reach Lizzy Alfs at 615-726- 5948 and on Twitter @lizzyalfs.