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Whole Foods to break ground today in Jackson

Whole Foods Market will break ground Thursday morning on its 30,000 square-foot store in Jackson’s Highland Village, the company said Tuesday.

Rendering of Jackson Whole Foods.

The groundbreaking ceremony will be held under a tent in Highland Village’s east parking lot. The store will sit between existing buildings at the shopping center and Old Canton Road. It will be the first foray into Mississippi for the grocer specializing in natural and organic food. Overall, the Austin, Texas-based company has 400 stores in 40 states.

A Whole Foods spokesperson told the Mississippi Business Journal in October that the store would open sometime next fall. Company officials originally targeted Thanksgiving 2013 as the opening date, but a spokesperson would not commit to that last month.

This will be the second major event for Highland Village in the past couple weeks. Built in the early 1970s by late businessman Jimmy Fowler, the 220,000 square foot shopping center is now controlled by Massachusetts-based WS Development. Fowler’s family had owned and operated the center since its opening. WS officials promised then that the transaction would not hinder Whole Foods’ arrival.

Whole Foods’ announcement last spring that it was coming to Jackson was the culmination of several months of negotiations with Highland Village, and was met with no small amount of enthusiasm. Two studies done within the past six years – one conducted by Realtors, another by Citigroup – have found that commercial and residential real estate in the area of a Whole Foods experienced a bump in value that ranged from 10 to 20 percent.

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