According to Gables Insider, the chain applied for a permit in August to open a store at Gables Station, a mixed-use project that spans from Ponce de Leon Boulevard to Le Jeune Road on the west side of U.S. 1. The project, spearheaded by Nolan Reynolds International and designed by Gensler and local architect Jorge Hernandez, will house nearly 40,000 square feet of retail space, along with residences and an extended-stay executive hotel.
A rep for Gables Station would not confirm whether a Trader Joe's is on tap.
In an email to New Times, Trader Joe's PR director Kenya Friend-Daniel confirmed that the Monrovia, California-based company is seeking a location in Coral Gables. "We are very interested in bringing a Trader Joe’s store to Coral Gables and are taking the necessary steps to make that happen," Friend-Daniel wrote. "There is no additional information to confirm at this time."
Trader Joe's is notorious for its reluctance to divulge information about future stores. Stories circulated about a potential South Beach location for five years before the company issued a formal statement in 2017, then opened two years later on West Avenue.
The first Miami-Dade Trader Joe's opened in Pinecrest in 2013. Before that, fans of the island-themed store made the trek to Naples for their fix of Speculoos cookie butter and Two Buck Chuck wine. Before the Pinecrest store opened, the city of West Palm Beach offered to change its name to Trader Joe's in January 2012 if the grocery chain would open a store there.
Trader Joe's now has several locations in South Florida, including stores in Davie, Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Delray Beach, Coral Springs, Boca Raton, Wellington, and Palm Beach Gardens. Miami-Dade has only the Pinecrest and Miami Beach locations.
New Times has several calls in to the City of Coral Gables to confirm Trader Joe's permit application and will update this story with additional information.