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Whole Foods Coming to Denver Union Station?

UPDATE, IT IS HAPPENING! WHOLE FOODS IN UNION STATION DECEMBER 2017

Denver Union Station Whole Foods

Whole Foods Union Station Possibility

For nearly a decade the rumor mill around Riverfront Park and Union Station has been focused on a new grocery store.   A Whole foods for the Riverfront Park/Downtown Neighborhood has been the mythical unicorn, the quest to find Bigfoot, the sighting of a Yeti… Someone always says that it is real but no one ever has proof.  For YEARS there has been talk that it would be coming to a location in Riverfront Park, but that deal never came together.  Then the rumor of a new location continued through other Denver Neighborhoods.

There was talk of a new grocery store at 20th and Chestnut.  We quickly learned (and celebrated, don’t get me wrong) the announcement of a new King Soopers which is now on schedule to open later this year.

But lately a new story has been circulating around our Denver Urban sources.  When we heard it from the first source we thought… well wouldn’t that be nice.

Then we heard it from a second source.

And at yesterday’s Rockies Game we heard it from a third independent source, but again with no verification.  So all we can do is share with you what folks are talking about.

The rumor is that a New Downtown Whole Foods is on the table to come to Denver Union Station.   The location that seems to be the top possibility is shown above.  We have folks who tell us this is a sure thing, but we don’t believe anything is a sure thing until the doors open for business.

This story isn’t new, in fact it has been a part of ongoing mention in other articles such as “King Soopers to open grocery store in Denver’s Central Platte Valley” from the Denver Post who reported :

“Whole Foods reportedly is looking for a downtown Denver location. Target also is scouting downtown for a site in its new line of City Target stores designed for high-density urban areas.”

Here is why it makes sense that it could be happening now.

Why Union Station is the perfect location for Whole Foods

  • The density of Downtown Denver is booming.  Just look at the area in and around the new Union Station site.  Cadence Union Station opened with 10 stories and some 284 units for rent.  Alta City House is almost done with framing on their new apartment project in Union Station.  The New King Soopers is also an apartment building with units being built above the store.  AMLI Riverfront added a brand new apartment project, as did the new phase of the Manhattan in Riverfront.  LoHi has been booming with new apartments and small development projects.  There are thousands of new apartments being built in the metro Denver area.
  • Being the hub of the RTD light rail system means a flood of commuters going to and from Denver.  Every one of those transit residents is a possible customer for Whole Foods.  I think there is a great story to be told of potential customers who get their breakfast, lunch, and groceries for dinner on the way home if a Whole Foods sat right next to their light rail starting (or ending) point.  Don’t forget that in our previous post about Denver being awarded the Green Lane Project that by 2020 hopes are that 15% of all commuters use biking and walking.  Those numbers should include a big base of commuters who use light rail to get into Downtown and then travel by wheels or feet inside the metro area.
  • King Soopers is coming in, so whatever numbers are necessary to make a grocery want to be there certainly appealed to someone.  It makes sense another grocery might want to come in and offer a little competition.
  • The infrastructure for Union Station is being built NOW.  If there was ever a time for a large business to commit, grab their favorite parcel, and make sure that the below grade parking or other infrastructure is in place it could be a case that sooner is better.   There are only so many plots of land and once they are gone you have to play wait and see.
  • We don’t know the exact science to analyzing a market to see if it fits with a Whole Foods.  What we can share is that our clients who live and work in Riverfront Park, LoHi, LoDo and all the surrounding Denver Urban neighborhoods pretty much do back flips every time this possibility is discussed.  Sure, it is awesome to be able to walk to all the hundreds of amazing restaurants downtown.  It is equally awesome to think of taking a short walk to get fresh meat, fish, veggies, bread to cook a great meal at home.  I know I would love to avoid driving and I definitely consider the parking lot at the Cherry Creek Whole Foods to be one of the scariest places I visit in Denver.  Some of those folks are just too darn aggressive in their pursuit of a space.  I’d rather walk a few blocks in the new beautiful Union Station.
  • Denver’s population continues to grow.  According to Metro Denver “by 2020, Metro Denver’s population is anticipated to increase to more than 3.2 million.” (Source:  Metro Denver).

So that’s the scoop we have heard.  We are taking a conservative view on this until we hear the official word and are asking our audience to share anything they hear via the comments below.  Keep your fingers crossed Denver, the mythical Unicorn may be real.

Would you shop at a Whole Foods in Denver Union Station?

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Here are a few links about Real Estate Opportunities in and around Union Station.

  • Union Station Neighborhood
  • Riverfront Park Neighborhood
  • Central Platte Valley
  • Lower Highlands (LoHi)
  • Lower Downtown (LoDo)
  • Ball Park
  • Five Points
  • Prospect Neighborhood
  • Sunnyside
  • Jefferson Park
  • Denver Stadium District

Also check out our page with the currently trending most popular neighborhoods here and a comparison of the per square foot of these neighborhoods here.

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