WILLOWBROOK – The Whole Foods in Willowbrook will soon be relocated from its 63rd Street location around the corner to the vacant Dominick's building at Hinsdale Lake Commons.
"We finally did get formal notification from the Whole Foods PR marketing specialist," said Willowbrook Village Administrator Tim Halik. "After all the speculation [Allison Phelps, Whole Foods Market's public relations specialist,] finally called us on Feb. 3 and said 'yes, we did sign the lease with the management and will go into the Dominick's store.'"
After 72 Dominick's vacated the Chicagoland area in late December, rumors surfaced as residents wondered which grocery would will the vacant store front near the intersection of 63rd Street and Route 83.
On Feb. 26, Regency Centers Corporation, a national owner, operator and developer of grocery-anchored community shopping centers, formally announced that the nearby Whole Foods had signed the lease and will soon relocate.
Whole Foods Market Public Relations Specialist Allison Phelps said the new location will “enhance shopper experience” for Willowbrook customers.
“On average, a new Whole Foods Market takes about 12 to 15 months from announcement to opening,” Phelps said via email. “Even a relocation takes that amount of time because it will take time to transform that building into the unique look and feel shoppers come to expect from Whole Foods Market.”
Phelps said Whole Foods will be moving its current location at 201 63rd St., as well as current employees, to around the corner “sometime in 2015,” but could not give a more specific timeline.
Halik said the timeline length for the move is "unfortunate," but was happy about the announcement.
"I would imagine that there's a significant amount of time in hiring design firms and architectural firms to come up with the drawing to submit, bid out and do the actual build," he said. "I gather they're going to pursue all that through 2014 and open sometime in 2015."
The current Whole Foods building in 63rd Street is about 38,000 square feet, while the size of the vacant Dominick's is about 70,000 square feet, according to Halik. But Halik said that Whole Foods will only use a portion of the space, about 56,000 square feet.
The remaining 14,000 square feet will be vacant for other users.
Halik believes the larger store will be a benefit to Whole Foods, its customers and the community.
"Every time I'm in there it's packed, so just from my own observation I thought they could use a larger store in our area," he said.