Progress on plans for a bringing a supermarket to a shopping mall on East Gun Hill Road are moving along slowly, but surely.
North East Bronx Community Association president and Community Board 11 member Vincent Prezioso said at his NEBA meeting on Monday, September 27 that he believes if it is possible at all, the community will indeed get a supermarket in the mall at 1700-1800 E. Gun Hill Road.
The shopping center, which was once home to a Waldbaum’s and an A & P, has most recently had a Circuit City as its anchor tenant.
But Circuit City opened in August 2008, only to close a few months later. A Duane Reade location, which also opened in the mall, has also now closed. Prezioso said that he is in on the negotiations to bring a supermarket back to the shopping center, and is also involved in talks to bring a Walgreens to the shuttered Duane Reade location.
“Duane Reade has closed its doors and went out of business, and I have yet to receive any commitment from Walgreens, which purchased Duane Reade, about opening another store,” Prezioso said.
“We may also have to get a zoning variance if we want to bring another supermarket into the shopping center, but I can assure you that if it is possible, a supermarket will come to the location.”
Sources have confirmed that the owner of the shopping center, Vornado Realty Trust, has been in talks with ShopRite about opening a store at the location.
In addition, a source said that another chain grocery store, Aldi, is interested in the location.
Prezioso said that Senator Jeff Klein is working on getting another supermarket to come into the mall. He is confident the Senator will do all that he can in bringing a market in.
“We are optimistic about the supermarket, and I know that we may have to make a few slight zoning changes in order to bring it to the mall,” Klein said. “One of the things that we have to do is convince them that there is a market in this community for people who want to buy food. At the end of the day, they are going to be doing their own market research and whatever chain is interested in the location will determine if they can be profitable there.”
Klein said that he is also looking to see if there would be the possibility of New York State Energy Research and Development Authority grants and property tax relief for any supermarket chain willing to invest in the location.
Vornado Realty Trust declined comment on any talks to lease vacant space in the shopping center.