Amazon Fresh Revives Plans for White Oak Market: Report

Amazon Fresh seems to have restarted plans for a new location at White Oak Town Center, over a year after pausing its nationwide expansion due to concerns about its competitiveness, according to a report from Washington Business Journal.

Amazon Fresh’s potential arrival was first speculated in 2022 when the developer adjusted plans with the county’s Planning Department to enlarge a grocery store in a mixed-use development. The expansion increased the store size from 16,000 square feet, similar to a typical Trader Joe’s, to about 40,000 square feet. The updated plan also featured white-and-green lettering and the architectural style typically seen with the Amazon Fresh brand.

WBJ reports that Falls Church, Va.-based construction company L.F. Jennings is in search of subcontractors to assist in constructing a 38,000-square-foot grocery store in Silver Spring, the exact location of which remains undisclosed. Interested firms must first sign a nondisclosure agreement to obtain access to bid documents.

L.F. Jennings set a deadline of Feb. 7 for subcontractors to submit bids for the interior fit-up work. The company’s history of building Amazon Fresh markets, such as the one at the Fair Lakes Shopping Center in Fairfax, Va., suggests a potential continuation of work on the planned Amazon Fresh at White Oak Town Center

The project’s progress has been uncertain since Amazon slowed its retail expansion in early 2023.

Following the nationwide slowdown, Amazon has been trialing a new Amazon Fresh format at selected stores in Chicago and southern California. These updated stores, such as the one in Chicago, now offer a wider range of products, including grab-and-go meals, and have enhanced technology to expedite the checkout process.

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy expressed optimism about the new Fresh format on a recent earnings call, noting that early results of the trial show promising outcomes on various fronts. Jassy highlighted the need for further observation over a longer period to gauge resonance and potential expansion strategies, according to WBJ.

Amazon and the developers of White Oak Town Center, a collaboration between Bernstein Management Corp. and Finmarc Management, have all chosen not to comment on the status of the anchor grocer project.

White Oak Town Center has secured leases with several retailers and restaurants, such as Dave’s Hot Chicken and First Watch, according to The MoCo Show. Developers Bernstein and Finmarc have enlisted D.C.-based KLNB Commercial Real Estate Services to promote the project at 12345 Columbia Pike, which offers around 103,000 square feet of retail space, to potential tenants.

Photo: Amazon Fresh Store in Manassas, Virginia. © Refrina – stock.adobe.com

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