Whole Foods Market at The Sauer Center development off West Broad Street near the Fan District should open in 2020, the project’s developer said Thursday.
The 40,700-square-foot store is slated to open sometime during the first quarter, Bradford B. Sauer, executive vice president of Sauer Properties Inc., told more than 100 people attending a tour Thursday afternoon sponsored by the Greater Richmond Association for Commercial Real Estate.
Sauer didn’t have a specific opening date, saying the grocery chain will determine that. Whole Foods representatives have repeatedly said a date hasn’t been set.
Construction on the two-story, brick-façade grocery store began in spring 2018. Exterior signs were installed last month and the sign for The Sauer Center development — with Whole Foods’ name and logo — was added this month to the parking lot entrances on West Broad Street and on Hermitage Road.
Sauer gave tour participants a sneak peek inside the Whole Foods.
“It is going to be a fabulous experience,” Sauer said.
The mezzanine level is where Whole Foods plans to have 10 craft beers on tap, he said. A second floor open-air patio will look out onto West Broad Street. The grocery store and a restaurant will be on the first level.
The Whole Foods store is a key part of The Sauer Center urban mixed-use development on West Broad Street near Hermitage Road that the development and property entity of the Sauer family is doing.
The grocery chain announced in May 2014 that a Whole Foods Market would anchor the proposed development, which is on the site of the former Pleasants Hardware building adjacent to C.F. Sauer’s corporate headquarters. The Pleasants Hardware store was demolished in late 2017 and early last year.
Another key piece of The Sauer Center is the redevelopment of the Putney Building at 2220 W. Broad St. The building fronts West Broad Street and is between the main offices of the Department of Motor Vehicles and a Lee’s Chicken restaurant.
Sauer Properties is in the process of renovating the Putney Building, which originally had been used as a Putney Shoe factory when it opened in 1906. It renovated the exterior façade on the building earlier this year.
Automotive retailer CarMax Inc. announced this month that it signed a lease for 80,000 square feet in the Putney Building for offices, or about 60% of the unoccupied building.
Sauer said he expects it could take between 18 and 24 months before the renovations are completed.
Plans also call for renovating the three-story building that is attached to the rear of the Putney Building. A rooftop deck would be added.
A five-story parking deck for 800 vehicles will be built next to it.
Also, Sauer said plans call for constructing a four-story office building with about 52,000 square feet on vacant land behind the Putney Building.
The Putney Building had been used by the Virginia Department of Taxation for years until 2011. Sauer Properties bought the building along with its 4.85 acres from the state for $4 million in 2012.
Two other buildings near the Whole Food store also are being renovated for office space. One tenant is lined up for the one-story building, but Sauer declined to say who is leasing it.
Carports have been added in the parking lot. The carports have solar panels on them, and the electricity generated from those panels are used to power the lights in the parking lot, Sauer said.