Whole Foods Market at Los Olivos Marketplace will be the first Irvine store for the natural and organic grocer. (Courtesy The Irvine Company / August 1, 2014)

Whole Foods Market and the Irvine Co. announced this week that they have signed a lease to bring Irvine its first Whole Foods Market.

The organic and natural foods store will occupy about 40,000 square feet at Los Olivos Marketplace, a new specialty center at the Irvine Spectrum. Construction is set to begin this summer and finish in late 2015. The store is scheduled to open in spring 2016.

The 120,000-square-foot Los Olivos Marketplace at Irvine Center Drive and Research Drive will feature casual dining, shops and services. More than 10,000 people live within three miles of it, with about 40 percent of them working in the Irvine Spectrum, according to an Irvine Co. press release.

"We have long looked at bringing a Whole Foods Market to Irvine and have found a prime location in Los Olivos Marketplace," Patrick Bradley, president of Whole Foods Market Southern Pacific Region, said in a release.

The store will be Whole Foods Market's sixth location in Orange County and second on the Irvine Ranch. The Fashion Island store in Newport Beach opened in 2012.

"[Whole Foods] has a tremendous following both locally and nationally, and we felt it's just the name of a great cache to anchor this specialty center," said Fred Collings, senior vice president of leasing for Irvine Co. retail properties. "We've had positive results in our Fashion Island location, and this has been a very great marriage."

Whole Foods Market, founded in 1980 in Austin, Texas, is a national certified organic grocer. It has more than 360 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The company reported sales of $12.9 billion in fiscal 2013.