Saturday, February 6, 2016

Shovels finally hit ground on Broadway Plaza

By Adam Wisnieski
Miyan Levenson/The Riverdalepress
Councilman Oliver Koppell, Rep. Eliot Engel, Equity One CEO Jeffrey Olson and Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. at the groundbreaking of Broadway Plaza.

After years of setbacks and delays, construction crews are beginning to build a shopping center on Broadway at West 230th Street. 

On Monday, Florida-based retail developer Equity One, Inc., held an official groundbreaking ceremony for Broadway Plaza with elected officials and community leaders.

What was a municipal parking lot will become a 133,000-square-foot shopping center, with a projected opening in fall 2013. Equity One is in negotiations with three tenants for the shopping center: sporting goods retailer Sports Authority, clothing store T.J. Maxx and grocery store Aldi, though no leases have been signed. 

Local elected officials — who have long been pushing the city to develop the land — were giddy on Monday morning.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. — described as a “true friend of the Economic Development Corporation,” by EDC Chief Operating Officer Zachary Smith — thanked Equity One for developing in the Bronx.

“Thank you for investing in this borough. Thank you for putting your money where your mouth is,” he said.

The mall is expected to create approximately 250 full- and part-time jobs, as well as 500 construction jobs.

The developer previously chosen by the city did not live up to its promises. More than five years ago, Ceruzzi Holdings planned to build a large shopping center with multiple stores and a movie theater. 

After years of back and forth with the city over the price of land, Ceruzzi agreed to pay $6.7 million to build a multi-store retail space. Rumors circulated the neighborhood that Kohl’s would become the anchor store, pleasing local politicians who saw the economic potential of a major department store. 

But Ceruzzi’s plan shrunk from a mall to a single supermarket and Councilman Oliver Koppell and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz urged the EDC to cut ties. 

Ceruzzi did not close on the deal by a June deadline in 2011, giving the city the opportunity to find a new developer.

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