More delays for Whole Foods

By LINDSAY WELBERS
Staff Writer

Whole Foods has said it does not expect to open its Hyde Park store until 2016, but the developer says construction is on schedule.

Whole Foods will open its neighborhood location early in 2016, a full two years after the store was initially scheduled to open, once City Hyde Park’s construction is finished.

City Hyde Park is currently under construction at the former Village Shopping Center location on the corner of 51st Street and Lake Park Avenue. Once completed in the fourth quarter of 2015, it will be home to 180 apartments, 120,000 square feet of commercial space and two levels of underground parking.

“Are we behind schedule relative to our plans in 2005? Of course,” Antheus Capital spokesman Peter Cassel said. “Based on our current plans I think this is in the realm of possibility.”

Cassel estimates that Whole Foods will be able to begin developing the space in the fourth quarter 2015, within the delivery period of Anthus’ contract with the upscale grocer.

Whole Foods spokesman Allison Phelps said they expect to take time to create a store they say reflects the neighborhood.

“Each one of our stores is a unique reflection of the community and the Hyde Park store is no different. As we have done with all our other stores, once we get closer to the opening date, we will reach out to the community to hear what they want from their neighborhood Whole Foods Market,” Phelps said.

City Hyde Park was delayed as a result of the 2008 recession, when the sources of funding for the Jeanne Gang-designed building faltered. Antheus was able to secure funding using new market tax credits, $11.3 million in tax increment financing money, enterprise zone benefits, as well as private funding sources.

Since demolition on the site began in the fall, the shopping center that had previously sat on the site has been demolished completely.

An unusually harsh winter hasn’t delayed construction much, Cassel said. Crews worked on the site as long as temperatures were above zero, but work was cancelled once it dipped into negatives.

Cassel said construction crews are working to remove debris and subsurface elements so that work can begin that will lead to excavating for the underground parking structure.

“We’re just really excited that this is all coming together,” Cassel said.

l.welbers@hpherald.com