Whole Foods announced it has plans to build nine new stores across the country, including in Fayetteville.
The organic supermarket revealed the news Wednesday (May 7) in its second-quarter earnings report.
The City of Fayetteville will pick up the cost of a $150,000 traffic light to be installed where the new Whole Foods Market will be built. The City Council voted Tuesday night to approve the measure.
Aldermen unanimously passed a consent agenda that included 14 funding requests. Among those was a request by Alderman Justin Tennant for the city to pay for the stop light needed where the Whole Foods will be built near the intersection of College Avenue and Masonic Drive.
The item was not discussed and passed quickly at the beginning of the meeting.
For weeks, city officials and eager locals speculated a Whole Foods Market could be coming to Fayetteville, after plans submitted to the city in April showed a Whole Foods logo on one of the renderings.
In a letter to city attorney Kit Williams last month, Tennant suggested the city consider picking up the whole cost of the traffic light if Whole Foods does open up shop at the location. 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 in the letter.
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.
Below, see Jocelyne Pruna’s report from before the meeting on the city’s efforts to incentivize Whole Foods to open up in Fayetteville: