Whole Foods 365 Opening Near Campus

Construction site at 2121 Cloverfield Blvd. which is soon to become a Whole Foods 365 market. (Christian Monterrosa)

If there's one familiar sight for all SMC students, it's construction sites -- the main campus is littered with them. But students commuting to school along Pico Blvd. may have noticed an interesting construction site off-campus. 2121 Cloverfield Blvd., on the Northeast corner of Pico and Cloverfield, is undergoing a massive overhaul, with a demolition and renovation project currently turning the lot into a torn out husk of its former self. But what is being built on this corner lot so close to campus?

As it turns out, Santa Monica College is about to get a "whole" lot more interesting, as this property is being turned into a Whole Foods 365, according to Kyle Ferstead of the Santa Monica City Planning Commission.

This will establish the only grocery store within convenient walking distance of the main campus other than Bob's Market. It's estimated as less than a 15 minute walk, about 10 minutes less than the walk to the Ralph's on Cloverfield.

The first Whole Foods 365 just opened in Silver Lake on Wednesday, May 25, and the Santa Monica location is one of only 13 off the specialized stores expected to open nationwide in 2016 and 2017.

The new 365 brand will attempt to slightly differentiate themselves from the conventional Whole Foods markets by aiming to provide “a whole new shopping experience. One that strives to be good for your body, your budget, your lifestyle, and the planet,” according to their website. They announced the new chain last year as a potential low-cost alternative to their main stores.

A grocery store which offers low-cost, healthy food while also being environmentally conscious should fit seamlessly into Santa Monica, which is already home to three Whole Foods locations. And according to Monica Diegos of the development company Tooley Interests, the Cloverfield location could be the 4th "as soon as next summer."

Corporate management of the Whole Foods 365 brand has attempted to make a good impression with the local Santa Monica community by hiring locally for both the development company and the architecture company in Tooley Interests and DFH Architects. Both companies are headquartered in Santa Monica, less than a 10 minute drive from the construction site.

According to James Fischer of DFH Architects, the renovations for the 365 market started this January and should be completed “sometime this winter.” Whole Foods however does not own the actual property. They will be leasing it. The owner is Cloverfield Gardens, L.P. who officially acquired the property in April of 2013 from 2121 Cloverfield Blvd. Associates, LLC. The previous owners had leased the property to 14 leasers since 2001 when they bought it from Eri S. Kroch.

The property stands less than half a mile east on Pico from SMC’s main campus. When its completed, the addition of a new reasonably priced grocery store will give students another healthy cheap food alternative to the cafeteria or limited restaurant selection around campus. It also could give some students an opportunity for a job at one of Fortune’s "100 Best Companies to Work For 2015."