Construction crews, get ready. Whole Foods announced yesterday plans to substantially expand its offices in downtown Austin, as it works towards its long term goal of building up a corporate campus around its company headquarters. These current plans have been long in the making, and are the result of Whole Foods' acquisition of the 524 Lamar shopping center last May and its 2013 purchase of an additional property at 1009 West Sixth Street.
“It has long been our goal to maintain our downtown Austin presence long-term by creating a campus centered around our flagship store,” Whole Foods Executive Vice President of Growth and Business Development Jim Sud told the American-Statesman. “We believe the properties across the street will allow us to do this, while keeping us deeply rooted in the part of town we have always called home.”
Jamil Alam, a Managing Principal with Endeavor Real Estate Group, one of the groups representing Whole Foods in their expansion efforts, believes that the expansion is great news for Downtown Austin's economy. “Many of the office tenants and residents in downtown refer to the Whole Foods store as a primary factor in their decision to office or reside in downtown. Whole Foods decision to double-down on their headquarters at 5th (at) Lamar not only signifies their long term commitment to downtown Austin, but is an indication of how exciting and vibrant downtown Austin has become,” he said.
According to Sud, Whole Foods has long outgrown its current headquarters, which currently houses 800 workers. The expansion increases this capacity by roughly 2,000 personnel, giving Whole Foods some much needed flexibility as it grows over the next 5-7 years. If all goes according to plan, Sud envisions Whole Foods making full use of this new space.