S.J. Collins Enterprises

Whole Foods near UTC Mall Moves Forward

SARASOTA COUNTY - A Whole Foods Market at University Parkway and Interstate 75 could open as early as summer 2017.

The Sarasota County Planning Commission unanimously voted on Thursday to recommend approval to the Sarasota County commissioners next month for a new 40,000-square-foot Whole Foods at University Parkway and Honore Avenue. The Atlanta-based developer, S.J. Collins Enterprises, intends to break ground in March.

The success of the downtown store and the support for the Whole Foods brand has encouraged the company to bring a variety of amenities to the new site, said Jeff Garrison, partner at S.J. Collins Enterprises, in a statement. The new store will be larger than the current store downtown and will include prepared foods, salad and soup stations, a juice bar, bakery, among other options.

Once open, the store will employ about 140 people with an average salary of $40,000. Local subcontractors will be used for the project.

The Austin-based high end, organic grocery chain operates only one other store in the region.

Casto Lifestyle Properties built the Whole Foods Market Center/100 Central retail and condominium complex in downtown Sarasota in 2004. Whole Foods is known for its high prices, but has lowered them, in an attempt to better compete with other chains.

S.J. Collins Enterprises also will bring Wawa to the center through a joint partnership with Brightwork Real Estate.

Zoe’s Kitchen, a Mediterranean fast-casual restaurant already has signed a lease.

The site also has another six spots available for retail shops or fast-casual restaurants.