AUSTIN-Whole Foods Market, based in Austin, is heading north to downtown Toronto for its first retail operation in Canada.

The world’s largest retailer of natural and organic foods is leasing 45,000 sf on two levels in the Avenue Road-Yorkville, a landmark building in the CBD. “The addition of Whole Foods is just the beginning of our long-term plan to restore The Lanes to its former position as a regular shopping destination,” says Stephen Chan, president of Max & Co. Development Inc., Hazelton Lanes owner. “The company is to food stores what another Texas company, Neiman- Marcus, is to department stores.”

The Lanes is undergoing a repositioning and renovation of spaces filled by high-end retailers. Among the plans is to make the area more amenable to daily needs, without affecting its quality retail lineup, as well as occasional shopping trips, says Chan. Nearly 10,000 residents now live in the immediate vicinity of The Lanes.

Whole Foods Market now has more than 117 stores in the United States plus subsidiaries involved in coffee roasting and distribution, seafood processing and produce field inspection. It employs more than 17,000 people in 22 states and the District of Columbia.

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