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Whole Foods opens; IU business expert says development boon far from over

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Whole Foods’ newest location is now the latest finished piece in downtown Indianapolis’ development wave, and some experts say the boon won’t end anytime soon.

The store, which offers organic groceries, a tap room and ready-to-eat meals, opened Wednesday and became the fourth grocery store within a two mile area.

Whole Foods Team Leader Jarad Miller said the store gave gift cards to the first 500 customers, and the cards were gone within 15 minutes of the store’s opening.

“With the number of potential customers, and all of the new neighbors and all the new apartments that are going up, now is a great time to open a store in downtown Indianapolis,” Miller said.

Whole Foods is below a new, 292-unit luxury apartment building and about a mile from a wave of Mass Ave. developments in the making.

John Talbott of the Indiana University Kelley School of Business expects the store to succeed despite a Needler’s grocery store less than half a mile away and a Kroger about a mile away.

“I think it just builds interest and makes the city more attractive to companies that are potentially going to open here, which means they’re going to need more employees,” Talbott said.

Talbott points out that Amazon bought Whole Foods last year and lowered some prices. He said the company is trying to make Whole Foods more desirable for a wider range of customer.

Local real estate advisers Tikijian Associates say the downtown Indianapolis apartment occupancy rate is around 94 percent.

The new location, at the corner of Market and Alabama Streets, is across the street from the City County Building and the new Cummins Building.