Stoplight May Go Up, If Whole Foods Comes In

A Fayetteville alderman has recommended the city pick up the cost of a $150,000 traffic light if Whole Foods builds a store on College Avenue as speculated based on plans submitted to the city.

A developer that has built several Whole Foods Markets in the South submitted plans to the city earlier this month for a large-scale grocery store at 3535 N. College Avenue. On the renderings for the plans, a Whole Foods logo can be seen on one of the drawings, fueling local speculation that the developer was building a Whole Foods.

The developer and city officials have said they cannot confirm whether the store will be a Whole Foods Market.

In a letter to city attorney Kit Williams, Alderman Justin Tennant suggests the city should consider picking up the whole cost of a traffic light at the location if Whole Foods sets up shop. A Whole Foods Market would be in the best interest of the city’s residents, and city leaders should help pay for a corresponding traffic light to show support for the store, Tennant states.

The traffic light is estimated to cost $150,000, according to Tennant’s letter.

Any necessary street improvements for new projects are typically paid for, at least in part, by the developers or the company that is the subject of the project. Tennant’s suggestion, though, would take the financial burden off of Whole Foods and onto the City of Fayetteville.

“If they do come to Fayetteville, it will be the most significant commercial project to come in years,” Tennant states. “I believe they are looking for a true partnership with Fayetteville, and this is our opportunity to be that partner.”

The alderman estimates the store would bring Fayetteville between $800,000 and $1.3 million in tax revenue each year. The store would also employ 140 full-time workers at a wage of $40,000 per year, he said.

The Fayetteville City Council is scheduled to discuss Tennant’s recommendation Tuesday at its regularly-scheduled City Council Agenda Session, according to an agenda for the meeting.

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