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The concept behind the new store, which doubles the size of its previous Austin location across the street from the new site, is to continue to fulfill the company’s mission of supporting sustainable agriculture and the environment. A key aspect of the property is the capability to include an office tower for Whole Foods Market’s new worldwide corporate headquarters to accommodate the company’s steady growth.
“This one-of-a-kind site has everything we are looking for: an opportunity to significantly expand our corporate infrastructure to meet our future growth goals, the space to build a large landmark store in our hometown, and the ability to keep our roots firmly planted in downtown Austin,” said Jim Sud, executive vice president of growth and business development for Whole Foods Market.
Locally quarried chopped limestone veneer with cut stone trim was utilized. The stone pattern includes bands comprised of stone pieces in heights of approximately 5, 10 and 15 inches in varying lengths with a rough-faced look and varying coloration from stone to stone. The stone is most prominently used at the entrance to the office building. Limestone is used as a base for the sign, and a large stone wall serves as a backdrop for the Culinary Center logo.
Mezger Enterprises supplied the Lueders limestone in both a natural face finish and a split-face finish. According to Wayne Harbin of Mezger Enterprises, the traffic in downtown Austin posed the only challenge onsite. “We had to go in really early in the morning, before the traffic started, to get work done,” he said, adding that at least two streets were closed off during construction.
The facility also features a 25,000-square-foot roof garden and plaza with 200 shaded seats, a space for entertainers, a playscape, flowing stream, native landscaping and prime city views. Furthermore, the site contains an outdoor cafe, which features natural stone paving. This cafe is surrounded by a series of curved and geometrically shaped planters, which are also comprised of stone.
Although much larger than the previous Whole Foods Market that stood just blocks away, the new store retains the charm and accessibly of its first location, with an intimate, village-style layout.
Construction on the new facility began in late 2002 and the doors officially opened on March 3, 2005.