Supermarket nabs 20K sf at Pennrose project in Brooklyn

Developer and City’s FRESH program bring Shop Fresh to East New York

50 Pennsylvania Avenue (LinkedIn, Pennrose)
50 Pennsylvania Avenue (Pennrose)

UPDATED Aug. 16, 2022, 11 a.m.: The real estate industry has been blamed for New York City’s food deserts — large areas without supermarkets — and in response, politicians created a zoning and tax incentive to correct that market failure.

It’s not clear if it worked: A number of developers have used the program, called FRESH, but no one knows how many of its supermarket spaces would have been created without it.

Still, the city expanded it last year and when it is used, ribbons are cut and congratulations are exchanged. The latest example is in East New York, where a Fine Fare will open this fall at an affordable housing project.

The grocery store has signed a 25-year lease to occupy 20,000 square feet at a mixed-use development at 50 Pennsylvania Avenue in the Brooklyn neighborhood, The Real Deal has learned.

A Booth Capital Advisors team of Greg Parassio and Brian Doyle represented both the tenant and Pennrose Holdings, the developer and owner of the property. Pennrose was seeking $40 per square foot.

Fine Fare saw the location as an opportunity to provide East New York with access to healthful food and to be part of an area it believes has a “great future,” Parassio said. A large rezoning in 2016 has triggered some investment in the neighborhood, which has suffered from high poverty and perhaps an overconcentration of industrial properties.

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The FRESH program, created by the City Council and Bloomberg administration and overseen by the Department of City Planning, seeks to bring grocery stores to communities with few food options other than bodegas and fast-food joints.

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New York
Key Food to open 14K sf shop on the UWS

The Philadelphia-based Pennrose co-developed 50 Penn with the nonprofit RiseBoro Community Partnership. The nine-story, 211,000-square-foot development’s 218 residential units are entirely affordable housing. Nearly half of the apartments are expected to be permanently affordable.

The building’s ground floor will include space for two retail tenants beside Key Food. The spaces are being leased through a city program that, through discounted rents, allows local businesses to hire employees from the neighborhood and offer job training and benefits.

The project, designed by Dattner Architects, was completed in December and formally opened in June. Close to $89 million in financing was provided by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development and Housing Development Corporation. Another $2 million was allocated by former City Council Member Rafael Espinal, who previously represented the area.

Project permits were filed in 2018. The property was home to stores and a parking lot that were cleared in 2019, Brownstoner reported.

Correction: The name of the supermarket chain that signed a lease at 50 Pennsylvania Avenue was misstated in an earlier version of this story.