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Whole Foods to open first store in Howard County

Whole Foods Market is planning to open its first store in Howard County by the fall of 2014.

Whole Foods plans to move into the longtime headquarters of the Rouse Co. on Little Patuxent Parkway in Columbia. The Howard Hughes Corp., which owns the building, and Whole Foods Market, said Wednesday that the upscale grocer has signed a lease for 45,000 square feet of space.

The market will be on the second level of the stucco-clad building designed by architect Frank Gehry.

County officials say they expect the store to create several hundred jobs.

Other plans at the building include a 30,000-square-foot fitness center with a swimming pool and restaurant, as well as offices.