Whole Foods has been searching for tens of thousands of square feet of downtown space since at least 2010. It was in negotiations to take the entire 31,000-square-foot first floor at 845 S. Figueroa St. for a store and to lease office space there as well. But the deal unraveled in 2011 when John Mackey, its chief executive, felt it was premature to open a store in the still-developing neighborhood.

Downtown was considered a food desert until Ralphs opened a store there in 2007. Other grocers, including Smart & Final Inc., which agreed to take the space at 845 S. Figueroa, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., have since announced they’ll open sites in downtown as well.

Though it is planning to open a retail location, Whole Foods no longer appears to be looking for office space in the downtown area. Last year, it signed a lease for 45,000 square feet on Goode Avenue in Glendale; the company will shift its local offices there from Sherman Oaks.

Michael Soto, a research manager at brokerage Transwestern downtown, said that Whole Foods would be a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

“While there has been a lot of speculation about them opening a store in downtown for at least a few years now, it could be that they realized that with other well-known names such as Target, Smart & Final and Zara recently coming to downtown, now might be the time to finally pull the trigger,” he said.

Glendale Expansion

Accounting firm Hutchinson and Bloodgood LLP is moving to a bigger spread in Glendale.

The company signed a 10-year deal for 18,000 square feet at 550 N. Brand Blvd. with landlord Clarion Partners LLC last month. It is moving from offices only blocks away, at 101 N. Brand, where it occupied about 12,000 square feet for the last decade.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but average monthly rates in the building are $2.75 a square foot, according to CoStar Group Inc., which would value the deal at about $5.9 million.

The company will take the 14th floor in the building and will move in November.

Pete Weir, partner in charge at the firm, said the company has been looking to expand after merging with the L.A. office of accounting firm PKF California last year and has found its current space a bit snug for its 65 employees.

Bill Boyd, at Charles Dunn Co. Inc.’s Glendale office, represented the tenant. Clarion represented itself in-house.

Staff reporter Jacquelyn Ryan can be reached at jryan@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 549-5225, ext. 228.


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