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Whole Foods Expanding In San Francisco

RMKB partner John Dooling and Whole Foods Executive Director of Development Adam Smith

Whole Foods is looking for additional locations within San Francisco. The high-end grocer has seven locations in San Francisco and is in the middle of doing due diligence at a number of potential sites, according to Whole Foods Executive Director of Development Adam Smith. The company also is in the middle of traditional-use authorization for a site at Polk and Jackson streets.

Outside of San Francisco, Whole Foods is bringing its 365 by Whole Foods store to Oakland and has a new shopping center underway in Concord. Whole Foods is planning to add a store at a new development in Sunnyvale.

Smith, who spoke at Bisnow’s recent San Francisco Construction and Development event, said the grocer is not too concerned with the retail environment because people still want to go out and connect with others. Whole Foods is focusing on creating community hubs. It has been adding tap rooms to its stores to provide a meeting place for customers. This concept was first developed in the Bay Area, according to Smith.

Along with cost of construction and the time it takes to build a project in the Bay Area, Smith said retailers also have to deal with workforce retention.

“When housing is short and commutes are longer and longer for folks, it’s really challenging to keep our workforce as high as we want so we can deliver the customer service levels we are known for,” he said.