Bronx hopes for first Trader Joe’s

By John DeSio | November 14, 2007 03:39PM

Residents hope that a Manhattan College development in Riverdale could be the site of the first Trader Joe’s in the Bronx.

Pathmark initially planned on opening a store at Broadway and West 242nd Street, but backed out in March. Manhattan College then dropped plans for a retail segment at the parking lot that will be turned into a parking garage.

Last night, however, developer Paul Travis told Bronx Community Board No. 8 that the development would once again include retail — possibly the Bronx’s first specialty grocery chain store.

“We’ll just look at a range of retailers that would fit on that stretch of Broadway, but I think our first priority is to find a specialty food retailer,” Travis said.

The 12,000 square foot retail space on the first floor will front Broadway. It could be split into two smaller stores, but Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said residents have been clamoring for a store like Trader Joe’s, which would be a good fit for the site.

“It would be a tremendous benefit to our community,” he said. “People in our area would be very excited about that.”

The retail space would likely be too small for a large supermarket or a Whole Foods, which has no Bronx stores. The chain plans on opening four new locations in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Yonkers, with each ranging in size from 52,000 to 66,692 square feet.

Trader Joe’s stores, however, range between just 10,000 and 15,000 square feet.

Travis unveiled a scaled-down version of the project yesterday. The height dropped from 74 to 55 feet, with the top four levels for student and faculty parking. A bridge over Manhattan College Parkway, allowing parking lot users to move from the garage to the college campus, remains.

Travis was a key developer behind the popular Target shopping plaza in nearby Marble Hill at West 225th Street and Broadway, which opened in the spring of 2004.

The Manhattan College project has been discussed for a decade.