The festive grand opening was held for the two-story Throggs Neck Shopping Center, just in time for the holiday season.
The gala event on Thursday, November 20 brought together dignitaries from all over the borough to celebrate the opening of the mall complex, which is mostly occupied and has a Target as its anchor store.
The site, the location of a repurposed U.S. Mail sorting facility, is one of a number of such transformed sites developed by Simone Development Companies in the borough.
Members of the Simone team, including company president Joe Simone and Bronx Chamber of Commerce chairman Joseph Kelleher who is president of Simone Metro Properties, spoke at the opening.
Simone hailed the 285,000 square foot mall as being part of the “new Bronx.”
“This wonderful new retail center is yet another example of how Simone Development is helping to transform and revitalize the new Bronx with innovative commercial and retail projects that create new jobs and boost the Bronx economy,” said Simone.
He recognized partners Aaron Malinsky, of Curbcut Urban Partners, and Paul Slayton of Slayton Investments, for their involvement in the mall.
Simone said that although it is hard to imagine today, the east Bronx had traditionally been under served when it comes to retail.
For Throggs Neck residents, the mall represents shopping convenience.
Local merchant John Bonizio, who along with a partner is opening the fourth location of Metro Optics eyeglass stores in the mall, said that the shopping palace is a great thing for the area and the borough.
“We are trying to do higher end here,” he said of the new store.
Bonizio said about the mall: “this is definitely a home run. It has what most places in the Bronx don’t have – 600 parking spaces.”
Mall developers quote the number of 650 free parking spaces to be exact. For some locals, the new shopping destination will mean ease.
“The Throggs Neck Home Owners are all excited about it,” said Rocco Talarico, TNMA vice-president, explaining some of the local reaction. “A lot of our members are elderly, and they now have somewhere to go that is close.”
Community Board 10 chairman Martin Prince said that other than any traffic concerns that the board will monitor, the mall is all positive.
Ferry Civic Association’s JoAnn Sohmers said that so far, traffic had been good and that she had expected more traffic and congestion.
Among the dignitaries who spoke were Senator Jeff Klein who remarked about making the Bronx a great place to live and work, Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. who expressed appreciation for the communication between the developer and elected officials, and Bronx Chamber of Commerce president Lenny Caro.
“It has been a long time coming, now we don’t have to leave the Bronx to shop – we have everything in the borough,” said Caro, adding “We are hiring people from the Bronx to bring down our unemployment.”
The Throggs Neck Shopping Center is located at the corner of Lafayette Avenue and Brush Avenue, alongside the Hutchinson River Parkway.