Whole Foods Market, the national organic supermarket chain, is coming to Cherry Hill next year.
The company, which will replace the former Genuardi's supermarket at the Ellisburg Circle Shopping Center, plans to open in spring 2014, according to John Hendrickson, Northeast regional chief operating officer for Federal Realty Investment Trust, which manages the center.
"I think they view it as a perfect market for them," Hendrickson said of the Texas-based grocer.
Whole Foods has a location in Marlton, and "they see this as a complement, really, to that," Hendrickson said.
Federal Realty has been searching for a tenant for the 47,000-square-foot space since summer, when Genaurdi's left the shopping center at Route 70 and Kings Highway.
"A handful of other operators" had expressed interest in the property, Hendrickson said. He did not name those companies but said Whole Foods "was certainly top on our list and a great fit for the property."
Township officials said the grocer's expansion into Cherry Hill signaled confidence in the community and would breathe new life into the center.
Before Whole Foods opens, Hendrickson said, renovations will be made to the facade of the center, where roof- and ground-mounted solar panels were installed last year.
"It'll look like a brand-new center," Hendrickson said.
The township, preparing to auction off a new liquor license, is considering eliminating a rule that bars supermarkets from selling liquor.
In a statement through a Federal Realty representative, Whole Foods said it believed state laws would prevent it from bidding on a license.
"The state liquor laws only allow a company to operate two licenses in New Jersey, which we currently have active in Middletown and Paramus," said Scott Allshouse, the company's mid-Atlantic region president. "While we'd love to offer that convenience to our shoppers, it's unlikely unless that law were to change."www.omegare.com