Amazon Fresh to open 1st Florida store in west Boca Raton

Shoppers at the high-tech supermarket can use Alexa to find items

(Photos courtesy of Uptown Boca)
(Photos courtesy of Uptown Boca)

Grocery store chain Amazon Fresh, which has no locations in the Southeast, will open at the new Uptown Boca development in west Boca Raton, according to the Palm Beach Post.

E-commerce giant Amazon, led by Jeff Bezos, is working on a national rollout of the supermarkets, which offer a high-tech shopping experience. Customers can tap their Alexa shopping list with Amazon’s app and use Alexa to find the items in the store.

The first Amazon Fresh opened in September in Los Angeles. Eleven more followed in California and Illinois. Amazon Fresh also plans to open a store in Plainville, Connecticut.

Amazon declined comment to the Post, which cited knowledgeable retail sources.

The Uptown Boca grocery store space was expanded by 25 percent, to 35,000 square feet, to fit Amazon Fresh’s requirements, according to the report. A previously expected tenant, Lucky’s Market, turned out to be anything but: It filed for bankruptcy prior to the pandemic.

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Uptown Boca, with 155,000 square feet of retail and 456 units of luxury housing, opened in November on 38 acres at Glades Road and 9th Avenue South. Sporting goods retailer REI as well as Sloan’s Ice Cream, Chick-fil-A and BurgerFi, among others, have opened. A Silverspot movie theater is on the way.

Boca Raton-based developers Schmier Property Group, Giles Capital Group and Rosemurgy Properties, along with Greenwich, Connecticut-based Wheelock Street Capital, bought the site in 2018 for $38 million. They scored a $125 million construction loan in 2019.

Retail experts also told the Post that they foresee other Amazon Fresh markets opening in the region, meaning more are likely in South Florida. But they do not see Amazon Fresh as a threat to Lakeland-based grocery store giant Publix, which has 60 stores in Palm Beach County.

The grocery delivery business boomed during the pandemic and its gains are expected to endure. Amazon Fresh will offer free delivery for Prime members and locations will include pickup and returns areas.

[The Palm Beach Post] — Lidia Dinkova