Lehigh Valley

Whole Foods third anchor tenant at proposed Hamilton Crossings

LOWER MACUNGIE TWP., Pa. - Whole Foods will be the third anchor store at the proposed Hamilton Crossings shopping center in Lower Macungie Township, along with Costco and Target.

It will be the first Whole Foods store in the Lehigh Valley, said Jeremy Fogel of the Goldenberg Group in Blue Bell, one of the developers.

"Whole Foods is extremely selective in the locations they pick and they've been considering the Lehigh Valley for a long time," said Fogel, who on Tuesday morning revealed Whole Foods will be the third major tenant.

"Whole Foods offers a significant difference in products from most traditional grocery stores," said Fogel. "They focus a lot more on organics and fresh and prepared foods. They have a strong following among folks who see those as priorities in their daily shopping trip."

He said Whole Foods also caters to more affluent customers.

"It will be an additional draw to some of the other retail we hope to attract," said Fogel. "It will bring a sense of legitimacy to the product on the higher end. This is very significant."

The project's developers often have said a high-end, organic grocery store coming as the third anchor tenant, but added they were not yet allowed to identify it. "But when we do, you'll see it's maybe the most powerful magnet of all," developer Tim Harrison told Lehigh County commissioners in April.

"Our interest is in announcing the tenants as soon as we can," explained Fogel. He said Whole Foods did not want to be identified public until the company was certain it would be coming to Hamilton Crossings. "It had to go through several levels of review by Whole Foods before they would allow their name to be released."

 Fogel announced the developers now have an approved deal with Whole Foods and are negotiating a lease. He said Whole Foods made the decision Monday to give them approval to announce its participation.

The 40,000-square foot grocery store is planned on the west side of Krocks Road, which will divide the 63-acre shopping center property between Route 222 and Hamilton Boulevard and serve as its main entrance. Costco and Target will be built east of Krocks Road. Other stores and restaurants will be on both sides of Krocks Road.

Next week Lehigh County commissioners plan to vote on a tax increment financing plan for Hamilton Crossings. The developers maintain they cannot build the shopping center if they don't get that approval.

"Hopefully, we will get support from the county commissioners next week," said Fogel.

"We hope we can demonstrate this is becoming a better and better investment as we put together a stronger line-up of first class tenants."

Whole Foods Market, Inc., is based in Austin, Texas, where its first grocery store opened in 1980. It now has more than 340 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

The company has eight stores in Pennsylvania, according to its website, including in North Wales and Plymouth Meeting, Montgomery County.

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