The transformation of lot at the corner of Springfield Avenue and Jones Street in Newark began today at the groundbreaking ceremony for a new development with a supermarket as its centerpiece. Today, Gov. Chris Christie, Newark Mayor [and Senator-elect] Cory Booker and Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo were among the dignitaries at the ceremony for downtown Newark’s new ShopRite supermarket.
The new 66,000 square feet store, operated by Brookdale ShopRite’s owner Neil Greenstein, will be located on the corner of Springfield Avenue and Jones Street in the Central Ward. It is the cornerstone of a $92 million project, dubbed Springfield Avenue Marketplace, which will include retail stores, banks, restaurants and 152 apartments overhead.
Brookdale Shoprite is third-generation family business and Greenstein says expanding into Newark was a “natural progression.”
The Newark Store, expected to open in 15 months, will provide “fresh food access at a reasonable cost to the people of Newark,” says Greenstein, adding that the store alone will provide over 300 union jobs. “We are we are going to be vital part of community, a supermarket with heart.”
Booker, who thanked all the community partners as well as Gov. Christie, said of Greenstein, “You don’t even realize what you are doing for the city. You are capitalist with a heart, a businessman with a passion. You are extraordinary.”
Christie thanked Richard Tucker, of Chicago’s Tucker Development for “having the confidence to develop and invest in Newark. He also congratulated Booker on his Senate win by teasing him about being a Giants fan, adding “”I’m happy to congratulate Cory on the first win for the Giants this year.”
Christie, who was born in Newark, referenced that the building site was the scene of violence in 1967 and that this project turns a page, as an important symbol of the revitalization of Newark and that the city is a “place worth investing in, fighting for and celebrating.”
According to the Star Ledger, the state of New Jersey awarded Tucker Development $38 million in bond funding and tax breaks last week to get this project going.
“Because Newark has been a food desert for the last 40 years, this is an important step in the revitalization of downtown,” says Brookdale ShopRite general manager, Jerry Manley. “We’re building on a big lot that has been empty for 20 years. Newark residents will finally have the choice to shop at a supermarket with really fresh produce,” he said.
Following ShopRite’s lead, Whole Foods announced recently they will be opening a store in Newark, taking over the former Hahne & Co. department store.