No, the location is not yet set, but planners are starting to dig in to the idea of bringing a Whole Foods Market to Westfield Countryside Mall in Clearwater.
John Swirf, an architect with Direct Design Carroll Associates of Chicago, presented plans to slice 37,000 square feet out of the first floor of Sears’ space at the mall and develop the location for the natural grocery chain at a Clearwater city Business Plan Review Committee meeting Thursday.
The architecture firm does not represent Whole Foods but has completed similar projects for Sears throughout the country and could submit official plans before Dec. 25, according to city officials. The first plan review would be 21 business days after it is submitted.
“The firm has done several Sears subdivides around the country — some of which, but not all, are for Whole Foods,” according to an email from Denise Sanderson, assistant director of Clearwater’s Economic Development and Housing Department.
Here is how the store split would work:
Sears would keep the south entrance near BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse and the service and merchandise pick-up entrances on the north part of the building, according to the plans. New facades would be installed at the Sears entrances. The four loading bay docks would be split.
Whole Foods customers would have access to the store from the west entrance of Sears. There would not be an entry to the grocery store from inside the mall, according to the plans.
Inside, the escalators would be moved, and a wall would be built.
Whole Foods officials said they do not have a specific location in mind yet but are planning to open a store in Clearwater sometime in 2014.