As if by premonition, Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council’s planning committee members asked a Whole Foods Market Inc. representative Thursday night about whether the company planned to be acquired.
The council member wanted to know how a change of ownership at the Austin, Texas supermarket chain might impact its proposal to build a third store in Sherman Oaks.
The question was relevant, as on Friday, the chain announced it agreed to be purchased by Amazon.com Inc. of Seattle and Walnut Merger Sub Inc., an Amazon wholly-owned subsidiary in Texas, for $13.7 billion.
The supermarket chain will continue to operate as Whole Foods Market, according to the agreement, and the acquisition could close sometime this year pending shareholder and other approvals.
The neighborhood council’s planning and land use committee heard a second presentation by Pacific Star Capital of Santa Monica, the developer of the Whole Foods location. Pacific and its team first presented the concept informally at an April meeting to get community reaction and feedback.
Pacific plans a 52,400-square-foot Whole Foods Market, bigger than the national chain’s typical 30,000- to 45,000-square-foot stores, on a site that once held a carwash, a gas station and parking on a triangular parcel at 14311 Ventura Blvd. where Ventura, Tyrone Avenue and Moorpark Street come together. Because of the plan to build on parking, a zone change is required.
At the first presentation, residents expressed concerns with potential traffic and delivery trucks at the location, because it sits at intersections where traffic doesn’t move at rush hour.
Ira Handelman of Handelman Consulting Inc. in Encino, who is handling community relations for Pacific Star, said on Thursday the developer revised the plans to meet all or most of the concerns. He said the plan eliminated most of the exceptions to local planning guidelines.
Residents at the meeting Thursday said they still had concerns, particularly about making left turns out of the store onto Ventura Boulevard and Moorpark Street.
Jeff Kalban, committee chairman, said the revisions resulted in “an amazing concept,” adding “you’re getting close.”
While the council had positive comments about the revisions, it sent the developer back to continue revising its plans to answer ongoing concerns.
Whole Foods Market generated $16 billion of revenue in 2016 and has more than 460 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.