"I don't mean to be disrespectful of Amazon, but I don't think Amazon reinvented the wheel. I don't think buying Whole Foods is going to make it easier for Amazon to fulfill its objectives," Zell said on "Squawk Box."
The founder and chairman of property specialist Equity Group Investments believes physical Whole Foods stores five years from now "will be half the size they are today or maybe even smaller." Zell also chairs five NYSE-listed companies, including three real estate investment trusts.
"Basically, Amazon is buying depots, not retailers," argued Zell, suggesting that Amazon benefits more from having local locations for shipping and online purchase pickups rather than from running actual stores.