A year later, no movement on Bruckner ShopRite

The former Key Food building in the Bruckner Plaza sits vacant and untouched, more than a year after the announcement that a ShopRite store was to move into the space.
Community News Group/Arthur Cusano

More than a year after a ShopRite food store announced it would be moving into the site of a former Key Food in Bruckner Plaza, residents are still waiting for work to begin.

New Jersey–based Village Super Markets, a corporation that owns 29 ShopRite stores in New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania, announced plans to move into the 41,840 square foot property in January of 2016.

The move was announced at the time by Senator Jeff Klein, who championed the news.

The Key Food store in the plaza closed in October of 2015 after refusing to sign a new lease.

Village Super Market expected to spend $14 million on construction in anticipation of an early 2017 opening.

The store would be the first ShopRite in the Bronx.

However, to date, the building sits dark and vacant, it’s windows covered to conceal the bleak interior.

The company has applied for an $8.5 million tax incentive through the NYC Economic Development Corporation’s FRESH program, aimed at providing incentive for companies to open grocery stores with produce and other healthy options in underserved New York City neighborhoods.

The new supermarket would be an anchor store in the Bruckner Plaza, which has lost a number of tenants in recent years and is undergoing significant improvements.

Residents living in the area have been without a major chain supermarket since the Key Food closed, a situation particularly tough on seniors who rely on public transportation.

The next closest food store is Western Beef, a low-price chain store, located across the Bruckner Expressway, in the former Pathmark.

The Bruckner Plaza is owned by Urban Edge Properties of Manhattan, which acquired the 116,000-square-foot property from Forest City Realty Trust last year for $32 million.

Debbie Graham, an administrative assistant for Urban Edge, said the company had no comment on ongoing developments in general or ShopRite in particular when reached for comment.

Calls to Village Super Markets for comment were not returned by press time.

But ShopRite’s plan seems to going forward.

A Klein spokesman said that at the request of supermarket, the senator and other local elected officials, community stakeholders and members of Community Board 9 plan to hold town hall meetings to provide input into what products the community would like to see offered at the store.

Klein has also proposed hosting a Bronx H.I.R.E. event at the proper time to ensure that local residents are given a fair opportunity for employment at the new supermarket when it opens, he added.

Jason Cintron, a spokesman for Councilwoman Annabel Palma said she also planned to meet with Shop-Rite representatives, residents and community board residents.

“In the coming days we are meeting with Shop-Rite representatives, the local community board, and other elected officials to hopefully establish a timeline, and discuss the desires of the community,” Cintron said.

Calls to CB 9, which maintains its district office in the plaza, were not returned at press time.

Reach Reporter Arthur Cusano at (718) 742–4584. E-mail him at acusano@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @arthurcusano.

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