Whole Foods scraps plans for new store on campus-owned land

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Whole Foods has canceled its plans to build a new location on UC-owned land in Albany, officials announced Friday.

Protesters began occupying a portion of UC land at the Gill Tract during the spring in response to the construction plans, which would have also built a senior housing complex and a mixed retail center.

The lease termination comes as the result of years of delays for the proposed marketplace and because the terms of the lease had not been met, according to a statement released by Whole Foods spokesperson Jennifer Marples Friday.

In a separate statement Assistant Vice Chancellor of Real Estate Services Robert Hatheway said the chain’s decision comes after a number of new lawsuits were filed against the City of Albany looking to cancel or delay the project.

“While we regret the loss of the project’s anchor retail tenant, we understand the firm’s frustration over further delays that come on the heels of five, long years of extensive community meetings related to development of the vacant parcel on the corner of San Pablo Avenue and Monroe Street,” he said in the statement.

Hatheway said the university is beginning the process of finding a new retail grocery store for the location.

“In addition to providing a much needed grocery store, the project will offer increased tax dollars for the city, and revenue for the campus to offer rent subsidies for low-income UC Berkeley students and their families living in Albany Village,” Hatheway said in the statement.

Contact Andy Nguyen at [email protected].