Uptown is getting Vancouver Island’s first Whole Foods in 2016, if all goes as planned at the council table in the coming months.
Whole Foods’ 40,000 square-foot, custom built space is slated for the corner of Blanshard Street and Ravine Way and kicks off Phase 3 on the site, said Roberta Ferguson, general manager at Uptown.
“The land is prepped and ready to go,” Ferguson said. “We looked at other areas of Uptown, but it made total sense to give Whole Foods a custom store.”
The proposal is expected to go before committee of the whole in mid-March; other elements of Uptown’s final building phase haven’t yet been finalized, she said.
Ferguson’s team also met with Saanich’s advisory design panel and several community associations prior to the announcement on Feb. 11.
“If you don’t know Whole Foods, you’re in for a real treat,” she said. “They’ve been looking for quite awhile (on Vancouver Island) … and they highly invest in their communities.”
Two other significant move-ins at Uptown include Steve Nash Fitness World, which opened in December, and Michael’s, which is slated to open on March 20, Ferguson said. Steve Nash is also expanding another 5,000 sq. ft. beyond its current 15,000 sq.-ft. space due to better-than-expected membership sales.
Shaw Communications is also in the midst of outfitting a 33,000-sq.-ft. space in the clock tower building as its new call centre. Hundreds of Shaw employees should be settling into that space by April, Ferguson said.
Whole Foods already has four stores in B.C., with locations in development in North Burnaby (expected to open in August 2015) and North Vancouver (expected to open in summer 2017). Uptown would be the sixth store in the province, and the location is expected to employ about 150 people.
Whole Foods also announced expansion to Calgary and Edmonton on Wednesday, which will mark its first locations in Alberta.