Jump to content

Whole Foods coming to Newark?


Recommended Posts

NJ.com reports it will be the anchor tenant in a conversion of the Hahnes building on Broad Street. That long vacant structure will house offices and residential.

 

http://www.nj.com/business/index.ssf/2013/10/whole_foods_coming_to_newark_s.html#incart_river

 

That area is changing rapidly, with housing for teachers nearby, Rutgers a block west, and a new world HQ for the Prudential alongside.

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

That area is changing. I still hear a lot of people and their negativity about Newark is still a dump, and one store doesn't change a bad neighborhood, and so on and so on.

 

So...don't go...and better yet, don't comment on it since you are not going. LOL.

 

There's still a lot going on there. Slowly but surely. I think that entire area will have a lot of improvement, change, etc. over the course of the next 20 years. It never happens when and as fast as some want. And of course, nothing is ever good enough for some. LOL.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The current pedestrian traffic flows are interesting to watch. There are several rivers of people walking from Penn Station to Prudential, Rutgers, and Public Service. The proposed teacher village will add a flow from the vicinity of the NJ PAC across Military Park to Rutgers, Prudential area (two charter schools and Essex County College), etc. At present, the pedestrian traffic flow from Broad Street station to Rutgers is significant, but many Pru, Med Center etc people take the shuttles.

 

The conversion of the old Blue Cross building (33 Washington) to Rutgers, and the emptying out of Mutual Benefit (520 Broad) and New Jersey Bell (540 Broad) and First Fidelity (550 Broad) took a lot of daytime activity out of that neighborhood.

 

This Whole Foods could be successful, in the same way the new grocery in downtown New Brunswick has been successful. There are always people in the store, and it seems to be a classic urban small orders store. Hope it works for them and all the people of Newark. The two (three?) Pathmarks have been successful, producing good numbers and a steady flow of good employees for the chain. ShopRite is building a store on Springfield Avenue as well.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm at the Rutgers business school this semester, so am seeing the neighborhood for the first time since my wife worked at Gateway 2 back in the mid 90s.

 

A few thoughts. The restauranteur in me sees many of those beautiful old ground floor spaces in the buildings that are east of the current Pru building (Commerce Street, as an example) and wonders "what if..." Some of those spaces would absolutely make Manhattan-esque style restaurant spaces. The refurbishment of Military Park is certainly exciting. The farmers market/flea market in the park is pretty cool--lots of live music and always bustlling with people.

 

That said, I think the area needs 2 or 3 more rock solid corporate tenants--those with the proclivity to order and eat LOTS of dinners--for the area to truly take off. I have an interesting perspective, as I was a high schooler at St. Peter's in JC right as their surrounding neighborhood went from abandoned factories to NJ Gold Coast. Newark has more in place now, than JC did then, but I wonder if the center of gravity is there to mimic the same change.

 

As for Whole Foods...I would think the business plan is going to rely very heavily on prepared food and catering, followed by shopping by some of the more well off professional school students at Rutgers Business, law, medicine and NJIT. Right now, they have very few options that they can get to on foot. This will help that. Also, the B-school basically has a catered event 5-6 days per week--usually from places like Subway and local pizza joints. I would guess RU law and Seton Hall law are the same. I could see Whole Foods taking the majority of that business. That said, you're not paying the nut on a 30,000 s/f supermarket, by selling Rutgers business and law sandwich platters. I would expect them to try and make major inroads with the AAs at Pru, PSE&G, Seton Hall Law, McCarter English, Verizon, what's left of the banks, audible.com and the inhabitants of Gateway. I would also expect them to dedicate a large amount of square footage to in store sit down dining areas, so that all that pedestrian lunch traffic can come in and eat in the store.

 

These are very interesting times in Newark, with lots of extraordinary spaces on the market. People with enough risk tolerance, deep enough pockets and some determined vision, could get really rich...

Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't speak to Whole Foods and how successful they might be, but they are stepping into an area that is trending upward. Slow and steady, there's a lot going on and more will be in the future IMO.

 

There's more and fresh money coming into these parts of Newark...the NJ Devils have new owners -- with deep pockets -- and they have committed to investing more money and doing more projects for the area surrounding the arena. There is talk that Prudential might play a role as well. Many of the large NJ-based law firms which call Newark their home are motivated as they want to "attract" clients to "their home" -- physically, geographically, etc. -- and they want the benefits of having them there, entertaining them at their office, etc.; as opposed to using NYC, a satellite NYC office, etc. The US Government is investing approximately $200m into a new building in Newark. The FBI moved into a new building there at the beginning of the new and improving Newark, PAC, etc. I think the PAC area/complex has room to expand, improve, etc.

 

Jersey City and the so called "gold coast" didn't happen overnight. Neither did Hoboken. With an aiport, a major sports/entertainment arena, proximity/mass transit to NYC and points North/South, and more -- there's a lot of potential there.

 

I think more than one major corporate tennant will look to the improving part of Newark. They already have. Current tennants/corporate residents will look to expand, update, renovate, etc.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I generally agree with you. But for a small business person, you need serious risk tolerance and deep pockets in the short run.

 

No doubt. It's part of the dynamic and very common.

Link to post
Share on other sites

On Marauder's point, the FBI building is currently an "island" in the middle of nowhere, but that may change soon. The NJ PAC and the light rail station are across the street. The parking lots adjacent to the Episcopal center and the Robert Treat Hotel may eventually house 5,000 teachers in an apartment complex. That's only a few hundred feet from the proposed Whole Foods.

 

But, the Mutual Benefit building at 520 Broad, the Bell Atlantic at 540, the bank building at 550 Broad, the office building at 10 Center Street and the spec office building at 570 Broad still remain largely empty. The huge Blue Cross building at 33 Washington is a Rutgers property. In that area of a few blocks, we're looking at about a million five to a million seven of empty square footage. Less than three blocks from Whole Foods. The potential for rapid change is huge, with the right catalysts.

Link to post
Share on other sites

On Marauder's point, the FBI building is currently an "island" in the middle of nowhere, but that may change soon. The NJ PAC and the light rail station are across the street. The parking lots adjacent to the Episcopal center and the Robert Treat Hotel may eventually house 5,000 teachers in an apartment complex. That's only a few hundred feet from the proposed Whole Foods.

 

But, the Mutual Benefit building at 520 Broad, the Bell Atlantic at 540, the bank building at 550 Broad, the office building at 10 Center Street and the spec office building at 570 Broad still remain largely empty. The huge Blue Cross building at 33 Washington is a Rutgers property. In that area of a few blocks, we're looking at about a million five to a million seven of empty square footage. Less than three blocks from Whole Foods. The potential for rapid change is huge, with the right catalysts.

 

Agreed. While the FBI building is "across the street" the PAC complex, rail, etc. -- and being convenient to Don Pepe, Riverfront Plaza, the sky path and Penn Station -- as you said, the apartment complex has a lot of potential.

 

On the corporate side though, you are right. There is rumor that a major corporate tennant is looking at the MB building. Since the rehabilitation, I haven't followed that building, but for the right tennant it could offer a lot of potential. Sure, it doesn't offer what Riverfront Plaza does, but not many do. I am not sure what will become of the BC/BS building either.

 

I guess we'll soon see.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've a number of observations regarding the attempts to gentrify central Newark, but I need to cool down from my rant about Babbo before I post again in earnest...

 

I will say I live next to the university, and one of my first questions is whether there's enough residential density next to the Hahne building to provide a large amount of pedestrian traffic. I'm a walker, and even I'm not sure I'd want to carry groceries for 3-4 blocks. I wonder if the university will provide a shuttle.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've a number of observations regarding the attempts to gentrify central Newark, but I need to cool down from my rant about Babbo before I post again in earnest...

 

I will say I live next to the university, and one of my first questions is whether there's enough residential density next to the Hahne building to provide a large amount of pedestrian traffic. I'm a walker, and even I'm not sure I'd want to carry groceries for 3-4 blocks. I wonder if the university will provide a shuttle.

 

Good observation.

 

If (Big IF) the teacher village comes into being, and if the James Street area gentrifies beyond its current level, there may be a decent residential population for the store. I don't think the current population within ten blocks (river, Broad Street rail station, MLK Blvd, Market Street) would support a 60,000 sf grocery store. The demographics of the new ShopRite on Springfield Avenue are a lot different, and much more favorable, I'd think.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

It has been announced that Chris Siversen (Maritime Parc in Jersey City) will open an additional restaurant in the new Military Park. At the corner by the NJ PAC / Nico and the Robert Treat.

 

That would be about a long block from each of the Whole Foods in the Hahnes building and the Teachers Village project. And about 300 yards from the new Prudential world headquarters building. And up the street from WBGO radio. :)

 

http://www.nj.com/dining/2013/12/newark_military_park_restauran.html#incart_flyout_entertainment

 

In the meantime, the 540 Broad building, the 520 Broad building, and most of the 570 Broad building remain vacant.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

It has been announced that Chris Siversen (Maritime Parc in Jersey City) will open an additional restaurant in the new Military Park. At the corner by the NJ PAC / Nico and the Robert Treat.

 

That would be about a long block from each of the Whole Foods in the Hahnes building and the Teachers Village project. And about 300 yards from the new Prudential world headquarters building. And up the street from WBGO radio. :)

 

http://www.nj.com/dining/2013/12/newark_military_park_restauran.html#incart_flyout_entertainment

 

In the meantime, the 540 Broad building, the 520 Broad building, and most of the 570 Broad building remain vacant.

 

Thanks. There was talk about a major tenant for one of those buildings -- possibly another insurance company -- but I don't know. That area has a lot to offer a company that is looking for or needs a NJ presense. Perhaps one of the NY law firms, but I don't think they would be a major tenant (as far as how much space they would take). Whatever it is, those buildings are a long-term project.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 year later...

The Star Ledger has an update on the Whole Foods into the Hahnes building saga.

 

Although Whole Foods will not seek a city / state subsidy and tax abatement, as former Mayor Booker said, the developers have both hands out.

 

 

But the same can’t be said for the developers who are rehabbing the century-old former department store that will house the supermarket, along with other retail, a branch of Rutgers-Newark and 160 rental housing units.

The state Economic Development Authority's board voted this morning to award the developers up to $40 million in residential and commercial tax credits that are aimed to grow jobs in New Jersey and improve its impoverished cities.

 

Another project, far Down Neck, will provide a facility for the growing of leafy greens in a mist enriched, apparently hydroponic atmosphere.

 

http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/12/nj_approves_40_million_in_tax_breaks_for_project_that_will_house_newark_whole_foods.html#incart_river

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

Rutgers has started renovations on the old law school building, which sits next to the public library. This building will house graduate students and have a sprawling 7,000+ s/f apartment on the top floor for the RU-N Chancellor. This will have ground floor retail if current plans are what gets built out. The good news for Whole Foods is that this shifts the primary residence for RU-N's graduate students 3-4 blocks east and clearly within easy walking distance of the proposed WF. To the extent there is "bad news" the I'm sure the ground floor retail will be of the cheap fast food variety. Being in the business school daily, I can attest that there need to be better options for grabbing something quick and affordable. I just hate to see that void filled by another Subway, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut type of store.

 

Also worth noting, several of the shops to the north on the proposed WF have started the renovation process. Very early stages, but you are starting to see some scaffolding going up, windows being boarded/papered over and building permits in the windows.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...