FAIRFIELD, CT-The anchor tenant of a proposed 120,000-sf shopping center that will be developed at the site of a shuttered precious metals manufacturing plant here has been identified. Whole Foods Market Inc. has signed a lease for 60,000-sf of space at the to-be-built Kings Crossing Shopping Center.

The long-term lease deal with the Austin, TX based natural grocer was announced by Summit Development LLC and Greenfield Partners LLC of Norwalk, the developers of the Kings Crossing Shopping Center development to be constructed on Grasmere Avenue at the site of the former Handy & Harman plant. The facility, which was closed in 2002, has since been demolished.

The Summit/Greenfield partnership expects to file final plans to the Town of Fairfield’s Planning and Zoning Board within the next month for the project. Meanwhile, Handy & Harman is completing an environmental remediation program at the manufacturing site that had been operated by the firm for more than 85 years.

Summit officials say the remainder of the space at the shopping center will be marketed to high-end retailers. The shopping center is expected to be completed and ready for occupancy sometime in 2009, according to a spokesman for the developer.

Felix Charney, president of Summit Development, says, “We are extremely pleased to bring this major new retail store to the region. Whole Foods is without question the recognized leader in the burgeoning organic foods market. Having Whole Foods as our anchor store will serve as a major attraction for other similarly upscale retailers, many of which may be new to the Fairfield area.”

Whole Foods currently has Connecticut locations in Greenwich and West Hartford and has plans to open additional stores in Darien and Glastonbury in 2008.

Kathleen Fazio, director of leasing and sales, represented Summit/Greenfield and Patrick Smith, EVP and principal, of Staubach Retail, represented Whole Foods in the lease negotiations.

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