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.

6 comments

  • Madison

    Sorry but no. Whole Foods was asked by the media if they were planning to open a store here when this story first broke. They said they had no plans to open a store in Fayetteville. That is not someone looking to form a “true partnership” with us. That is someone who is disengenuous. I prefer my partners to be forthright and honest.

  • Sarah 1

    Not so disingenious as using their leverage with tax incentives to build the traffic light to their store. The location is heavily congested with traffic. WalMart generally always demands a traffic signal. And they get it. Let’s bring in some competition which will in turn bring prices down.

  • Tommi Perkins

    That is the worst location to get into a big store I could ever think of! That stop light area is horrible. I have almost been run into lots of times as I go through there at least 3 or 4 times a day. There is no other way to go north except Old Missouri Road and that is slow and through a rural neighborhood. I take my car to Lewis Ford and it is difficult to get in and out of that lot most times of the day.

    Again, that is a terrible location for a large store. Too bad there is not a back way out also, although Milsap Road is very busy also.

    I am not against the store coming in but I am against that location for it.

  • Larry

    “The store would also employ 140 full-time workers at a wage of $40,000 per year, he said.”

    That sounds way out of whack. Can’t possibly be accurate.
    They love those stop lights!

  • Rene usher

    I’ve always understood that Walmart pays for their lights. Why wouldn’t whole foods? I also doubt they are bringing that much revenue to f’ville. How much will they take from mom and pop shops like ONF?

  • Sarah 1

    WalMart never pays for the stop light. The tax advantages to the city are so great it is a minor price to pay by city government. 4367

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