After years of searching for a major chain to fill a vacancy, Secaucus has secured a new supermarket, Metropolitan Citymarket, for the Xchange development at Secaucus Junction.
This will be the second Metropolitan Citymarket in New Jersey. The chain has multiple locations in New York City and will open a location in Bergen County’s Leonia on June 28.
“The town obviously has been trying to get a supermarket since the Stop & Shop closed,” said Mayor Michael Gonnelli. Residents have wanted a local grocery store since the closings of Stop & Shop at Mill Creek Mall in 2008 and Acme from the town center in 2004.
A number of major chains had backed out because of the location, population size, and competition with Walmart, Gonnelli said. But Metropolitian Citymarket represents a different type of offering as a smaller full service supermarket with prices comparable to ShopRite and Foodtown. The market also offers natural, organic, and ethnic foods.
“It is going to be a unique place.” – Michael Gonnelli
“They are going to get a lot of exposure,” said Gonnelli. He said that the Dinosaur park can get up to 5,000 visitors in a weekend.
He mentioned other assets for the supermarket, including visibility from Turnpike exit 15x, the proximity of Harmon Cove Towers, the lack of another nearby supermarket, and the future fourth phase of build out at Xchange.
Officials said the new supermarket will be open in the fall around September or October after an internal buildout. The new store will occupy a retail space that measures approximately 9,000 to 10,000 square feet in size. White Rose Dairy, an independent wholesale food distributor in the New York City and New Jersey metropolitan areas, is affiliated with the supermarket chain. The company supplies grocery, dairy and frozen food products that are sold in the supermarkets and has distribution centers located in Carteret and Avenel. In 2006 Associated Wholesalers, Inc. acquired White Rose.
“They are really nice stores,” said Gonnelli. “It is going to be a unique place.”
He said that the stores include everything one would find in a Shoprite including a butcher, a bakery, a sushi bar, and a number of organic and specialty items.
The municipality offered an incentive in the form of a tax break on the 10,000 square feet, which has yet to be finalized.
“This is a private sector issue,” said Gonnelli. “The only reason we got involved was to try to entice somebody to come here.”
After many failed attempts to lure a major supermarket chain, the mayor reached out to an old neighbor, Joe Fantozzi, who happens to be the president and chief operating officer of wholesaler White Rose Foods. According to Gonnelli, the White Rose affiliate Metropolitan Citymarket was looking to move to New Jersey.
The private owner of the proposed Secaucus location has another supermarket in the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn.
A changing Xchange
More people have moved into the Xchange development after 317 units became available for rental in April as part of Phase III of expansion and buildout. Construction begins on Phase IV this summer.
The development caters to young urban professionals, of which 88 percent commute to Manhattan. It bills itself as a “luxury” community with waterfront views and access to Laurel Hill Park.
The residents at the Xchange are diverse, with a large Indian population. Catering to the Indian population was a factor that was part of the discussions with Metropolitan Citymarket, which offers some ethnic foods.
A number of residents have expressed the desire to have a supermarket like the old, beloved Acme that was in the Plaza Center. Since it closed, area residents have traveled to neighboring towns for their grocery needs.
Xchange is a little over two miles from the historic center of town, so some older residents have expressed reluctance to travel there for a supermarket. The town has said that it will offer transportation to and from the Xchange area. The municipality currently offers shuttle rides to nearby ShopRites and other supermarkets.
Adriana Rambay Fernández may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.