COLUMBIA, Md. (WJZ)– Another place to shop in Columbia. Whole Foods will open its first Howard County store there, and Andrea Fujii tells us, many residents expect it to be a big boost for the area.

It is fine grocery shopping at Whole Foods. And one is coming to the Rouse Building in Columbia.

“The freshness and availability of so many products,” Laura Quindlen, a Howard County resident, said.

It’ll be the first one in Howard County. The closest one now for residents is the one in Mount Washington.

“We live right across [Route] 29 from here so we could actually ride our bikes there if we wanted to,” Lena Kennedy, a Howard County resident, said.

The 45,000 square foot-market will take over the second level of the Frank Gehry-designed building.

The store expects to add several hundred jobs. Proponents hope it– plus the planned luxury apartments next door– will revitalize downtown Columbia.

“I’m thrilled about it. What it’s going to mean for the vibrancy of the lakefront is obvious. Whole Foods being a home run to kick this off,” Howard County Executive Ken Ulman said.

Nationwide studies show that adding a Whole Foods to a neighborhood can increase property values up to 25 percent.

Plans for the building also include a new fitness center, restaurant and more offices.

“I’m actually a real estate agent and it’s good for business. We’ve been waiting for this area to be revitalized for a number of years,” Rhonda O’Quinn, a Howard County resident, said.

Whole Foods is set to open in the fall of 2014.

Columbia’s first Wegman’s opened in June.


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