The long lament by Glover Park, Burleith and Georgetown residents over the closure of the Whole Foods Market at 2323 Wisconsin Ave. NW since March of 2017 is over. Whole Foods will be reopening in the same space where it has been since 1996.
The two parties — the grocer and the landlord — settled before the case was to go to trial.
In a statement, a Whole Foods spokesperson said: “We are thrilled to announce that Whole Foods Market will be returning to Glover Park. We will be completing a remodel of the store before reopening our doors, so stay tuned for more details on timing. We look forward to returning to serving the community we’ve been part of for more than 20 years.”
In 2017, the store was suddenly closed “due to a rodent problem.” But the matter grew into a contract and remodeling dispute between Wical Limited Partnership, the owner of the building, and Whole Foods, which was acquired by Amazon that year.
Last year, D.C. District Judge Royce Lamberth set a trial date of May 26, 2020, to hear the entire matter. The key issue is to determine whether or not the rodent problem was an “act of God.” Lamberth had ruled out a request by all the interests for a summary judgment, a ruling on the merits or on discrete issues of a case without a trial. “Neither side has shown ‘that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact,’” he wrote.
The two parties reached a settlement agreement on Feb. 10, according to the Washington Business Journal. “Under terms of the settlement, the landlord will get more than $2.5 million in rental payments that have been held in escrow since the beginning of the legal battle; Whole Foods will get back $246,615.17 of the total in escrow to cover overpayment of taxes,” it reported.