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Whole Foods begins interior buildout of St. Pete store

Veronica Brezina



The Whole Foods Market at 201 38th Ave. N., St. Petersburg will open in 2024. All photos by Veronica Brezina.

The exterior buildout of a 40,000-square-foot structure on a corner lot in St. Pete is complete, and now grocer Whole Foods Market has the keys in hand to begin the interior construction. 

Local development partners J Square Developers and Atlanta-based SJC Ventures are behind the redevelopment of the property at 201 38th Ave. N., formerly the site of the Sunshine Plaza strip mall. 

The plaza, which had tenants including Suncoast Fitness, Dollar General, Sun Country Cleaners and a Kahwa Coffee drive-thru, was demolished in December 2021. Construction and groundwork then commenced for Whole Foods. 

Whole Foods Market site in St. Petersburg.

“We have met the strict conditions in the lease and Whole Foods has accepted the condition of the building. Their contractors will do the interior buildout,” J Square owner Jay Miller said. The team officially checked off all the boxes in July.

“I get questions all the time about when the store will open. The store will not open until 2024. Inside, there’s still a dirt floor. We delivered the building to them now because they have a tremendous amount of underground plumbing work to do before pouring the slab,” he said. 

There are 200 parking spaces in front of the building, with additional space in the back. There will be offsite parking for employees. 

The Whole Foods store will have several access points located along 38th Avenue N. to the east of a gas station. The other alternative is at the traffic light on 3rd Street, leading to two plaza entrances.

The Whole Foods site sits across from Publix Super Market at Northeast Park Shopping Center, which is close to another Publix Super Market at 4th Street Station – and a mere few blocks south, there is a Fresh Market. 

Nearby is a Trader Joe’s, which Miller developed and opened in 2015 – becoming the first and only Trader Joe’s in the city.

“It’s a pattern for retailers in general to locate near competitors. It establishes a strong location as customers get used to traveling to a particular area for groceries,” Miller said.

Another added value is how retailers can gauge the expected activity based on existing data from the surrounding businesses. 

Miller said other grocers were also interested in the 3.4-acre site. 

“Whole Foods was looking at different St. Pete locations, but parking is important for grocers, and that’s a challenge in downtown,” he said. 

During the groundwork phase to prepare the site for Whole Foods, the team faced a significant undertaking in relocating a stormwater pipe. 

“In the city’s older plat maps, this was platted for residential lots. Sometime when the Sunshine Plaza was developed, the owner was approved to replat it and get it zoned for retail. It still had this large stormwater pipe running through the site. We had to relocate it from under the new building to the parking lot,” Miller said. 

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    August 15, 2023at11:56 pm

    10 parking spaces 😀

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