Northeast Times

Northern Liberties Superfresh opens this Friday

A long­time neigh­bor­hood wish is com­ing true this Fri­day with the open­ing of a Su­per­fresh at 2nd Street and Gir­ard Av­en­ue.

Come Fri­day, res­id­ents will ac­tu­ally be able to head to Gir­ard Av­en­ue in North­ern Liber­ties to en­joy the con­veni­ence of a na­tion­al su­per­mar­ket chain.

Last week, A&P an­nounced that their 51,000-square-foot Su­per­fresh store at 2nd Street and Gir­ard Av­en­ue will cel­eb­rate a grand open­ing this Fri­day, Aug. 26 at 9 a.m.

The sprawl­ing com­mer­cial space with a rubble-strewn, va­cant in­teri­or fa­cing Gir­ard Av­en­ue on the first floor can be de­ceiv­ing, but all the ac­tion is on the second floor of the prop­erty. 

A&P spokes­wo­man Nat­alie Miyake said that space would be ready for pat­rons by the end of the week, with an early open­ing for those who want to avoid the pomp of the grand open­ing and just get some shop­ping done.

“It will be open and avail­able to shop­pers at 7 a.m. on Fri­day,” said Miyake.

While such cor­por­ate open­ings are usu­ally droll af­fairs, those fa­mil­i­ar with the long and con­ten­tious ef­fort to bring the su­per­mar­ket to North­ern Liber­ties have real reas­on to re­joice.

For years, res­id­ents be­moaned the lack of a con­veni­ent, one-stop place for gro­cer­ies, and pressed de­velopers to lure a big chain to the area. And, for a long time, the no­tion seemed like a pipe dream - big su­per­mar­kets just aren’t in­ter­ested in urb­an areas and the chal­lenges they pose, and be­sides, the demo­graph­ics just aren’t at­tract­ive enough, hope­ful res­id­ents were of­ten told.

But, as the years went by and North­ern Liber­ties snow­balled as a de­vel­op­ment hot­bed, that pic­ture began to change.

Then, Bart Blat­stein - own­er of Tower In­vest­ments and un­dis­puted king of de­vel­op­ment in these parts - whetted neigh­bor­hood ap­pet­ites when he an­nounced that a su­per­mar­ket would be the corner­stone of his Piazza at Schmidts’ north­ern­most stretch.

Loc­ated at the corner of 2nd and Gir­ard, the site would even pay homage to the old Schmidts Brew­ery with an up­dated take on the clock tower that once graced the site.

In Feb. 2010, Blat­stein an­nounced that store would be a Path­mark and held a ground­break­ing ce­re­mony boast­ing 150 uni­on jobs.

Then began the wait­ing game.

Neigh­bors eagerly watched as the steel build­ing sprung from the long va­cant site, its sleek mod­ern­ist and glassy skin in place by Novem­ber of that year. Con­struc­tion work­ers even talked about a pos­sible open­ing be­fore Thanks­giv­ing.

And yet, news of bank­ruptcy for par­ent com­pany A&P, along with store clos­ings, loomed over the pro­ject and gave fuel to ru­mors that the site would nev­er ac­tu­ally host a su­per­mar­ket.

Still, a Decem­ber 2010 open­ing date was put forth - and quickly passed. By spring, with Tower in a law­suit that sought to break ties with A&P, doubts about an open­ing any time soon seem to plague the neigh­bor­hood.

And then, news broke that Blat­stein had brokered a deal with A&P - par­ent com­pany to Path­mark and Su­per­fresh - that would see a Su­per­fresh open by the end of the sum­mer.

Last week, the com­pany made good on the pledge, an­noun­cing an open­ing marked by “a full day of fun activ­it­ies for the com­munity” with free food samplings, cook­ing demon­stra­tions and spe­cial deals

May­or Mi­chael Nut­ter and A&P CEO Sam Mar­tin will at­tend the event along with oth­er com­munity lead­ers.

The rib­bon-cut­ting will take place at 9 a.m.

Re­port­er Bri­an Rademaekers can be reached at 215 354 3039 or brademaekers@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at brademaekers@bsmphilly.com.

comments powered by Disqus