It’s pretty obvious to even the most casual observer that the Midtown area has been going through a lot of change lately. Private, public, and philanthropic organizations have poured billions of dollars into the area, businesses have been moving in and residential occupancy is more than 90% with more housing being built to meet demand. Today, that change continues with the ground breaking for the new Whole Foods store, to be located on Mack Avenue, just east of Woodward.
This is good news for residents new and old as well as workers and existing businesses in the neighborhood since Whole Foods has a track-record of generating additional economic activity and development.
One of the things many residents have been asking for was a name-brand grocery store, and next spring, according to Whole Food Co-CEO Walter Robb, they will have it.
“I hope we can add something to the soil,” said Robb. The ceremony was marked by the Native American blessing and offering before the ceremonial ground breaking.
It is estimated that 70-80 jobs will be created with the opening of the new store, in addition to the construction jobs generated by building the store.
“It will keep more grocery dollars from the people in Detroit, in Detroit,” says Sue Mosey, President of Midtown, Inc. “Any time we can add an employer in Downtown and Midtown that has a commitment to local jobs, that makes a big difference.”
The location is also key, according to officials. It will be located steps from Woodward Avenue, which will be tied together with a new mass transit investment and a hub for residents of greater downtown. It’s also a quick hop from I-75.
One of the things that was mentioned and possibly explains the high level of interest in this project is that for many people Whole Foods isn’t just your average retailer. “In the 35 years I’ve been in the real estate business, I’ve never dealt with a retailer that’s had more concern for the community than Whole Foods,” said Peter Cummings, the head of RAM Development and who has owned the property the store is to be built on for the last 16 years.
So we ask you – with the arrival of Whole Foods, what is the next thing you’d like to see in Greater Downtown? What do you think the area needs? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.