Northeast Times

Superfresh could open in No Libs by summer’s end

De­tails are emer­ging on a plan that could fi­nally see a new su­per­mar­ket open at 2nd Street and Gir­ard Av­en­ue.

When it was re­por­ted last week that the long-delayed open­ing of a su­per­mar­ket at Gir­ard Av­en­ue at Second Street would be­come a Su­per­fresh in­stead of a Path­mark, that fact was easy to see.

“Now Hir­ing” signs are pos­ted along the en­tire block, on nearly every first floor win­dow of the empty build­ing, of­fer­ing in­ter­ested parties to “come join the Su­per­fresh Team.”

But, even with the evid­ence lit­er­ally star­ing pass­ers-by in the face, get­ting con­firm­a­tion of the plan from any­one in­volved with the pro­ject was sig­ni­fic­antly more com­plic­ated.

Else­where, a wealth of re­ports cited “those in the know” or the vague “sources said.”

Rep­res­ent­at­ives from the North­ern Liber­ties-based Tower In­vest­ments, own­er of the site, did not re­spond to calls to con­firm the deal with Su­per­fresh or to say what the fate of oth­er shops planned for the sprawl­ing de­vel­op­ment would be.

In Sunday’s Phil­adelphia In­quirer, however, Bart Blat­stein, own­er of Tower In­vest­ments, praised Great At­lantic and Pa­cific Tea Com­pany — par­ent com­pany to Path­mark and Su­per­fresh —  gen­er­al coun­sel Craig Feld­man for work­ing to bring the new mar­ket to North­ern Liber­ties. 

While Path­mark, whose logo still graces the build­ing, was sup­posed to open last Decem­ber, bank­ruptcy in­def­in­itely put those plans on hold and left many won­der­ing if the neigh­bor­hood would ever get chain gro­cery store.

Be­sides the empty su­per­mar­ket space, which stretches a full block along Gir­ard between 2nd Street and Han­cock, there re­main a num­ber of empty store­fronts where pro­spect­ive ten­ants may have been wait­ing for an an­chor-busi­ness be­fore com­mit­ting to a lease.

There is a plan to re­lo­cate the Wine and Spir­its store at Gir­ard Av­en­ue and Ger­man­town Av­en­ue in­to the com­plex.

The new loc­a­tion, which would be on the first floor fa­cing Gir­ard Av­en­ue, would be ex­pan­ded to a “premi­um store” that hosts wine tast­ings.

Scot Hoff­man, spokes­man for the Great At­lantic and Pa­cific Tea Com­pany — the Mon­vale, N.J. based cor­por­a­tion that owns Su­per­fresh, Path­mark, A&P, The Food Em­pori­um and oth­er stores — re­leased a state­ment con­firm­ing the Su­per­fresh open­ing. He said oth­er ques­tions would be answered in a few weeks when A&P plans to re­lease an­oth­er an­nounce­ment for the store’s grand open­ing.

“We are pleased to con­firm that The Great At­lantic and Pa­cific Tea Com­pany is mov­ing for­ward with plans to open a new Su­per­fresh store at North Second Street and West Gir­ard Av­en­ue in Phil­adelphia,” read the state­ment.

That’s con­firm­a­tion, surely, but why change the brand from a Path­mark at the $30 mil­lion com­mer­cial com­plex to Su­per­fresh?

Hoff­man de­clined to com­ment.

It has been sug­ges­ted that the monik­er change could be in­ten­ded to strengthen the su­per­mar­ket’s brand. Late last year, A&P filed for bank­ruptcy.

In Feb­ru­ary, the com­pany an­nounced that it would shut­ter at least 10 stores in this state and in New Jer­sey.

A new 51,000-square-foot store in Blat­stein’s Piazza at Schmidts — part of his plan for a “five-minute” com­munity —could help the su­per­mar­ket chain grow and es­tab­lish prom­in­ence in a much-hyped Phil­adelphia de­vel­op­ment.

Asked how many em­ploy­ees would be hired to staff the new busi­ness, Hoff­man again de­clined to com­ment.

In­stead, he cited the re­lease, which read: “We are look­ing for­ward to bring­ing our neigh­bor­hood store to this com­munity” with the full sup­port of May­or Mi­chael Nut­ter, United Food and Com­mer­cial Work­ers Loc­al 1776, and the de­veloper of the prop­erty.

A&P hopes to open the new Su­per­fresh by the end of the sum­mer.

In an e-mailed reply, Hoff­man said the com­pany will an­nounce fur­ther de­tails about jobs and the date for a grand open­ing “as those de­tails come to­geth­er.”

On Thursday, Ju­ly 21, work was un­der way on the first floor of the com­plex.

One work­er at the site said the new li­quor store space is cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion with plans for a T-Mo­bile cell phone store in the works.

Point­ing to the far corner of the com­plex, right where Gir­ard Av­en­ue meets Second Street, the work­er said, “ru­mor has it that will be a bank.”

However, with no re­sponse from Tower In­vest­ment rep­res­ent­at­ives as of press time, that might re­main a ru­mor.

The store is cur­rently hir­ing. In­form­a­tion can be found at www.su­per­fresh.com. The store num­ber is 5233.

Re­port­er Hay­den Mit­man can be reached at 215-354-3124 or hmit­man@bsmphilly.com 

You can reach at hmitman@bsmphilly.com.

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