By EMILY BRINDLEY
HARTFORD COURANT | OCT 30, 2019 | 2:59 PM | AVON
The developer of a new Whole Foods Market broke ground on the project on Wednesday, officially beginning construction on the supermarket, which will anchor the proposed Avon Village Center development.
Development company Carpionato Group, based in Rhode Island, plans to build a $200 million center on Climax Road, immediately behind the town government buildings that sit on Route 44.
The project site totals about 95 acres and sits on land that was previously owned by Ensign-Bickford Realty Corp.
The center would house everything from medical facilities to restaurants to residential buildings, Carpionato President and CEO Kelly Coates said Wednesday.
But for now, the site is a field of red-brown dirt. On Wednesday morning, construction vehicles pushed the dirt around, flattening a portion of ground in the center of the site.
Even the small hill where community officials and company representatives gathered for the groundbreaking will soon be flattened, Coates said.
The center, once constructed, would send more than $1 million worth of taxes to the town of Avon each year, Coates said.
And the Whole Foods is the first step in that vision. Coates said his company is aiming to have the 45,000-square-foot store complete by Thanksgiving 2020.
Coates’ company has already put some legwork into the Whole Foods partnership.
Coates said that his company approached Whole Foods four years ago and asked if the supermarket chain would consider moving into Avon. Whole Foods said no.
“But I knew what this great community had to offer,” Coates said. “I knew this was the place.”
The development company went back to Whole Foods again, and this time the upscale supermarket said yes.
Shortly before the new Avon Whole Foods opens, however, another community will lose a store, the Courant reported in May. The supermarket chain’s location at Bishops Corner in West Hartford will shut its doors once the neighboring store, about 6 miles straight down the road, is ready to open.
Coates laid out his vision for additional businesses to build at the Climax Road site over the next five years. He said a number of local and national companies have already agreed to move in at the Avon site.
“We’re going to do a groundbreaking every year for the next five years, until this project’s finished,” Coates said.
Avon Town Manager Brandon Robertson said the Avon Village Center project, which will sit immediately behind his office, has been in the works since at least 2005.
“This really is the culmination of years and years of work on the part of the town of Avon,” Robertson said. “It’s a great win for Carpionato. It’s a great win for the town of Avon.”