Source: Whole Foods Jersey City Deal is Dead

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whole foods jersey city update progress
Rendering Credit: Studio V Architecture

Last week we speculated whether the Whole Foods project planned for downtown Jersey City was still moving forward. With rumors swirling online as well as little progress on the project since it was announced, we began having doubts. Now, a source close to the deal, who requested anonymity, confirmed our suspicions–the deal has collapsed.

According to the source, “the site is contaminated with chromium and the management has to hire contractor to dig and throw the chromium every 6-8 months.” Residents of the Metrolpolis towers co-op are even required to relocate their vehicles to temporarily assigned spaces while the cleanup is underway.

Mayor Fulop first announced the details of the deal last year. Saying, “Really excited to share positive news that Whole Foods formally announced today they will be opening a Jersey City store. Lots of conversations to get this completed and I think it will be a huge positive for residents and visitors. I said it from the beginning… We aren’t playing around, and we all share the goal of wanting to push forward a stronger city. This store will be located outside the Grove Street Path Station.” (Emphasis added.)

What’s surprising is that site contamination was the culprit behind the deal falling apart. As with many former industrial properties in Jersey City, soil contamination is a common problem. For a project that was very publicly announced, why was a soil test not performed before completing the deal?

Other factors could be at play too. Facing increasing competition in the high-end grocery market, Whole Foods has had a difficult few years financially. Which led to the company’s acquisition by Amazon last month. With new ownership in place, what happens to the company’s previous expansion plans?

For comparison, Hartz Mountain announced in June that New Jersey’s first 365 by Whole Foods store will be coming to their Lincoln Harbor development. This announcement came as a fully finalized deal with an immediate ground breaking following. The project is now well underway and is expected to open next year. The Jersey City deal, on the other hand, came with a targeted opening date of 2020–4 years after it was announced. So the question becomes, why announce the Jersey City store so preemptively?

Whatever the reasons, for now, downtown Jersey City will continue to lack a national high-end grocery option. However, there are still plenty of options to fill the void. Sprout Marketplace (now known as Sprove) at 70 Columbus offers a great selection of packaged and prepared foods. If you can manage the crowds, the Shoprite location at Metro Plaza is great for the basics. For a more exotic selection, the newly-opened 99 Ranch is a great option. Or we can support local business by shopping at specialty retailers such as Jersey City Fish Stand or Van Hook Cheese & Grocery.

Update: After publication, Whole Foods contacted us with the following statement: “We remain as committed as ever to bringing the highest-quality natural and organic foods to Jersey City.” -Ted Kwong, Northeast Regional PR Coordinator

So, it looks like, though this particular Jersey City Whole Foods deal is dead, perhaps another location will eventually open.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Hahaha!!!

    The planned one-story Whole Foods building and surface parking lot right next to Grove St. PATH was an inefficient use of land. I’m so glad this one fell through. I’m confident a much better planned development will come to this site.

    We do need more quality grocery stores in Jersey City. I’m not sure city leaders realize just how important one would be. I have an idea… unlimited density allowance for any site next to a PATH or HBLR station as long as a supermarket is included in it’s base. That should get us at least a couple.

  2. Twin Cities/Aqui supermarket on Sip Ave is incredibly underrated! Tons of cool, foreign selections, free parking, and very low prices. Not downtown but great for anyone in the Journal Square/Heights area.

  3. Looks like this deal is not so dead as the article implies. Why wouldn’t the reporter ask Whole Foods before publishing this “dead” article?

    • The Whole Foods planned at the Metropolis Towers site is dead, as the article states. Whole Foods’ statement implies they’re looking at alternative sites for a Jersey City store.

      We did reach out for a statement but our request was not immediately returned.

  4. Jersey City needs a national chain desperately. Sprove is anemi at best, ShopRite is an absolute hell hole and Ranch 99 is great but lacks some of the basic American fare like Corn flakes.

  5. Why would anyone actually go to a grocery store anymore? Fresh Direct has perfect produce and all the typical groceries, and costs a few dollars for delivery. The time and effort savings is amazing.

    • you talking about amazon fresh? the produce I’ve gotten from them has been terrible. also, not everyone can afford the $15 a month fee, or the additional $10 delivery fee if you don’t order over $40 worth of items.

  6. I used to do real estate development in Philly. All of the initial environmental assessments come back with recs. You have to do a second one to find out the cost of remediation the rec. Whole Foods probably thought it wouldn’t be much since there is a residential building currently on site. Unfortunately, they were wrong.

    Fresh Direct and Amazon are pretty decent in the area, but they need another grocery store. That shop rite parking lot is a war zone. The problem is parking and traffic for an area already so dense and right next to a Path station.

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