The upscale Whole Foods Market supermarket chain has signed a lease to open up a store in Square 54, the development across from the Foggy Bottom Metro, and a spokeswoman for the company said the store hopes to accept GWorld as a method of payment.
Ivy Goldberg, a representative from OrganicWorks PR -- the firm representing Whole Foods Market -- said the store will accept GWorld as a payment option when the store opens in the second half of 2011.
University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said the grocery store has yet to sign a contract to become a GWorld vendor, but added that the University is open and excited to work with the company to help them become one of the many GWorld vendors in the area.
Though news that Whole Foods will set up shop in the massive development site on GW's Foggy Bottom Campus dominated the news coverage this summer, other vendors also signed leases to move into the retail space on the first floor of the complex.
Recent leases at Square 54 include law firm Vinson & Elkins and manufacturing and technology company Danaher. These businesses join law firm Hunton & Williams, NIH Federal Credit Union and the eatery Devon & Blakely, who signed leases to occupy the space in the spring.
Square 54, located across from the GW Hospital off of Washington Circle, also received a new name--The Avenue, said Jake Stroman, senior project manager at Boston Properties.
The developers at Boston Properties worked with a marketing agency to determine a name for the development. Since it is a mixed-use development with all the leases in one general area, "The Avenue" seemed like an appropriate and clever name, Stroman said.
"It is also a playoff on Pennsylvania Avenue," Stroman said.
The Avenue will consist of both an office and residential building.
The office building will be completed in February 2011 and tenants will begin to occupy and open their spaces starting in March, Stroman said. The residential building is set for completion in May 2011, and tenants will begin to move in between May and July, he added.
Of the leases, the selection of a grocery store was long-awaited by many in the Foggy Bottom and GW community.
In order to gain approval to break ground in the space, Boston Properties agreed to sign a lease with a grocery chain. In February 2009, the Washington Business Journal reported the Giant Food supermarket chain was close to signing a lease with Boston Properties. In June, Stroman said negotiations had "switched horses" in response to questions about the negotiations.
Whole Foods is expected to open in fall 2011 at 2221 Eye Street, Whole Foods Market Regional Vice President Ken Meyer said in a statement.
The new store located on the first floor of The Avenue will cover approximately 36,000 square feet, Meyer said.
"Due to its unique position within the community hub that is the Foggy Bottom neighborhood, the store aims to serve a large and diverse group of customers from the surrounding area," he said.
Myers also said the company is in the midst of planning for the store to have "unique features that will be tailored to the shopping needs of the community."
Whole Foods will be sharing business with other local grocery stores -- the Watergate Safeway and Trader Joe's at 25th and L streets. While Safeway currently accepts GWorld, Trader Joe's does not.