Whole Foods Market: Ward Village store will be largest in Hawaii

Whole Foods Market's new Ward Village location

Whole Foods Market and the Howard Hughes Corp. confirmed Tuesday plans for a 50,000 square-foot flagship Whole Foods Market in Honolulu at Ward Village.

The new store will be the company’s largest location in Hawaii and will occupy the ewa makai corner of Queen and Kamakee sts. as part of a mixed-use development.

“As a company that has a strong commitment to caring for and supporting the local communities we serve, Whole Foods Market is pleased to officially announce our flagship Honolulu store in the vibrant community of Ward Village,” said Patrick Bradley, president, Southern Pacific Region of Whole Foods Market. “As we reach six years in the Hawaii market, we look forward to serving both current and future shoppers with the addition of a Whole Foods Market at Ward Village.”

Ward Village is an area Whole Foods tried to enter six years ago. The company pulled out in December 2009 after numerous delays.

“Whole Foods feels the Ward-Kakaako area is really vibrant,” said Claire Sullivan, Whole Foods’ Hawaii purchasing and public affairs coordinator. “It’ll be a great host to a Whole Foods market store.”

The new store will employ up to 200 workers and support more local farmers. In 2013 alone, over $8 million was spent on purchases from local vendors in the state.

Whole Foods Market Kahala
Whole Foods Market Kahala

“At this point in time, we work with about 300 local farmers and producers to supply the three stores (in Hawaii),” Sullivan said. “When we open a new store, we’ll have an opportunity to expand the partnerships with existing and new suppliers.”

Developer Howard Hughes Corp. says the alleys in the back and on the side of the building will be turned into streets, and customers will have two access points.

“It fits into the long-term vision of Ward Village as a place where residents can bike and walk to get their groceries, to go to the park and meet most of their daily needs,” said Nick Vanderboom, senior vice president of development.

The developer says Whole Foods will further enhance the transformation of Ward Village, which will include two mixed-use residential towers. Construction on the first residential tower is set to begin next month.

As a result, some 200 parking spaces will be lost, but Howard Hughes officials say more than 1,700 other parking spots are located nearby. Between 400 and 500 parking spots will also be added above the new Whole Foods store.

Office Depot is still open. Howard Hughes Corp. did not say when it will close, but will work with the tenant and could offer them another location nearby.

The project is slated to begin construction in 2015 with completion expected in 2017.

Whole Foods Market in Ward Village will be the fourth Whole Foods Market in the state of Hawaii, joining locations at Kahala and Kailua on Oahu and Kahului, Maui. The company opened its first store in Kahala in 2008.

Ward Village Whole Foods Market site map (courtesy)

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