It’s not going to be an 80,000 square foot supermarket, but the grocery store at the center of the Lackawanna Station redevelopment will be about half that size — larger than any of the other grocery stores in Montclair and comparable in size to the West Orange Whole Foods.
Those details were shared by David Placek of BDP Holdings, the developer for Lackawanna Station, at a community meeting held by Montclair Fourth Ward Councilor David Cummings Wednesday.
Placek, describing his family as Ruffles potato chip fans, said having a grocery store with familiar brand names was very important to people in the community.
“We spent a lot of time talking to people, trying to understand what they’re looking for with regards to a grocery store. And it came down to a grocery that was a good sized grocery — not a small grocery — and a grocery that provided brand name products,” said Placek.
“The priority since day one has been to get a grocery store into Lackawanna Plaza that will be a viable grocery store. It’s not gonna go out business in five years or 10 years,” he said.
Lackawanna Plaza, once a bustling shopping center, became almost entirely vacant after the closure of Pathmark in November 2015. Pig & Prince struggled after the closure and ultimately closed its doors in 2019. For a a while, only Popeye’s Chicken and a pizzeria remained.
Since Placek took over as developer, Lackawanna Station has seen new energy. Montclair Jazz Festival block parties and Montclair Film and Luna Stage events took place alongside the station, while vacant windows became Fresh Air art installations and Pineapple Express, a new casual BBQ restaurant with beer garden opened, all bringing new visitors and new life to the area.
A formal announcement about the grocery store should be coming in a month or so, said Placek, who expects to share more details at that time.