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Smaller grocery stores filling void left by big-box retailers in NYC

Grocers look for smaller locations and take the place of former big-box stores

Grocery stores are popping up in New York City, in some cases filling the void left by big-box retailers that shuttered during the pandemic, and new residential towers in the city’s boroughs are driving the change, according to a report in the New York Post

The newspaper reports that new towers in Brooklyn in Queens are attracting grocers to the city. 

Most recently, Whole Foods opened a 42,000-square-foot store at a ground-level location at Harry Macklowe’s 1 Wall St. in the city’s Financial District. The Amazon-owned grocer also aims to open smaller, 7,000- to 14,000-square-foot Whole Foods Daily Shop locations, according to the report. 

The challenge of finding larger locations that are affordable has helped popularize the small-store format, said Jeffrey Roseman, a commercial real estate broker who leased New York’s first Whole Foods in 1999. “Rent is key — they can’t pay a lot of rent,” he told the Post. 

Meanwhile, local grocer Brooklyn Fare is opening a 25,000-square-foot store at One Manhattan Square this spring, and New Yorkers flocked to the recent opening of Wegmans in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and a second at Vornado’s 770 Broadway in Astor Place last fall. 

Wegmans is planning a third location at a former Bed Bath & Beyond at Glenwood Management’s 1932 Broadway, the Post reports.

Similarly, German discount grocer Lidl has opened several locations in Staten Island, Harlem, and Quens, and it’s opening two locations at former Michael’s stores in Fresh Meadows and at the Bronx Terminal Market.

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