The community is hopeful that a large vacant retail space at an East Gun Hill Road shopping mall may soon be a supermarket.
The anchor tenant at 1750 E. Gun Hill Road had been a Waldbaums and A&P, and now ShopRite, is eyeing the space. A ShopRite spokeswoman, vice-president of consumer and corporate communications Karen Meleta, confirmed that the company has interest in the location, and that they are in talks with the landlord. However, nothing has been finalized.
The vacant store continues to be an eyesore after a Circuit City opened in August 2008, only to close five months later. The former supermarket had been subdivided for Circuit City. Councilman Jimmy Vacca said he has been lobbying for the past 18 months for a supermarket, and that he is impressed with ShopRite.
“Residents of Pelham Gardens and Allerton, who have been without a supermarket since one at Eastchester Road and Mace Avenue closed in 2009, asked me to stress to the developer that we wanted a supermarket because A&P and Waldbaums had been in the shopping center for years,” Vacca said. “I think that ShopRite is a perfect fit, and I hope that this answers all of our requests. ShopRite has just opened a beautiful store in New Rochelle, and I know some people from our community shop there. Opening a ShopRite on East Gun Hill Road is a win-win situation because it would keep tax dollars in the city.”
Senator Jeff Klein said that he believed that ShopRite would be a welcome addition to the community.
“We have a lot of people leaving our community to shop at big box stores like Costco,” Klein said. “If ShopRite opens, I believe that the community would patronize the store and it would be beneficial to the whole area.”
Assemblyman Michael Benedetto said that he believes that the location of the store, right off the I-95, would attract customers not just from Pelham Gardens and Allerton, but from all over.
“When it was a Waldbaums, I used to go shopping there myself, and there were always crowds of people,” Benedetto said. “It is a right on the money location because there is a big parking lot and it is located close to the highway.”
Vincent Prezioso, president of the North East Bronx Community Association, said that he would like to see a supermarket at the shopping center.
“We have pushed for years to get another supermarket,” Prezioso said. “If we could get another store, I think all the businesses there would benefit from the extra traffic.”
Vornado Realty, the mall’s owner, did not comment on negotiations.