After what officials have called “normal construction delays,” Mandeville’s eagerly anticipated Whole Foods store could open by the end of April, according to Donna Taylor, of Stirling Properties.
The high-end grocery chain, which in January announced plans to move into part of the space vacated by Albertsons along U.S. 190, originally anticipated opening in the first quarter of 2016. But that date was pushed back by hiccups in the construction process, Taylor said.
Whole Foods announced nationwide layoffs in the fall. Those layoffs were expected to affect the company’s three south shore locations, but Taylor said they would have no effect on plans for the Mandeville store.
A Whole Foods spokeswoman said the company plans to open the store sometime in 2016 and that there was no other news to report.
Meanwhile, work continues at the site, Taylor said.
Whole Foods will take about 40,000 of the 60,000 square feet vacated by Albertsons, but almost all of the space had to be reconfigured for Whole Foods, she said. The entire slab had to be pulled up, and other structural and electrical modifications had to be made. Those projects are ongoing.
Another retailer, Forever 21, already has moved into the remaining 20,000 square feet. That store opened before Thanksgiving.
The Mandeville location’s progress has been closely watched by some residents, who have chronicled the work’s advance on a Facebook page originally started to try to lure the grocer to the north shore.
In November, commenters on the Facebook page noted that work appeared to have resumed after a pause; some said they had been worried by the apparent lack of progress.
In 35 years, Whole Foods has gone from a single store with 19 employees in Austin, Texas, to a major national retailer with some 400 stores and more than $14 billion in sales in 2014, according to the company’s website.
Follow Faimon A. Roberts III on Twitter, @faimon.