City inks 6-year agreement with Whole Foods developers - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

City inks 6-year agreement with Whole Foods developers

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The council finalized a six-year agreement that will produce a parking structure near the future site of Whole Foods. The council finalized a six-year agreement that will produce a parking structure near the future site of Whole Foods.
The grocer is expected to enter the Huntsville market in 2016. The grocer is expected to enter the Huntsville market in 2016.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

The Huntsville City Council voted Thursday to approve a lease agreement with developers, putting in place the final piece of the puzzle that will allow Austin TX-based retailer Whole Foods Market to expand into the city.

Developers said in February the Merchants Walk center, planned for Bob Wallace Avenue at Memorial Parkway, would offer 100,000 square feet of retail space and about 300 jobs.

Mayor Tommy Battle said the agreement spans six years and in each year, the city provides some of the infrastructure for the project.

"Parking is part of your infrastructure to make this work," he said. "Parking, roads, sewer, water – all of that is the infrastructure that has to come in, but because the development is so dense, it requires a parking structure instead of the surface parking like we are used to."

Shane Davis, Director of Urban Development, said the agreement was essential to meet the community's demand for the grocer.

"Mayor Battle and his team have held two retail summits. Both times, Whole Foods has been the number-one thing our community has asked for," he said.

Davis said the project developers will cover the utilities, property tax and maintenance costs associated with the parking structure.

"The city has no costs going forward," Davis said, "But we have exclusive use and rights of that garage."

Huntsville's Whole Foods Market is expected to open in 2016.

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