Cen­ter lands an­chor ten­ant

Sierer con­fi­dent a new mar­ket is com­ing to Fair­field Shop­ping Cen­ter

Newark Post - - FRONT PAGE - By JOSH SHAN­NON jshan­non@ches­pub.com

After nearly two years of spec­u­la­tion over the fu­ture of Fair­field Shop­ping Cen­ter, it ap­pears good news is fi­nally on the way for neigh­bor­ing res­i­dents.

“We’ve landed a ma­jor an­chor for the cen­ter,” de­vel­oper Ernie Delle Donne, whose com­pany owns the ag­ing plaza, con­firmed last week.

Cit­ing a con­fi­den­tial­ity agree­ment, Delle Donne de­clined to iden­tify the ten­ant or the type of busi­ness it is. How­ever, he said he ex­pects to be able to make an an­nounce­ment within

the next month.

He added that the an­chor, which will re­place the shut­tered Su­per­fresh mar­ket, will be part of a planned $4.5 mil­lion ren­o­va­tion of the shop­ping cen­ter on New Lon­don Road. He said he has been in com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the Ne­wark plan­ning depart­ment and Mayor Polly Sierer, but a city spokes­woman said no of­fi­cial plans have been filed with the city.

Sierer said she be­lieves a new su­per­mar­ket is headed to the shop­ping cen­ter, as count­less res­i­dents have ex­pressed a de­sire for.

“I am con­fi­dent there will be a gro­cery store go­ing into that shop­ping cen­ter,” Sierer said. “I think that will oc­cur and as soon as the par­ties have come to an agree­ment, I’m sure they will share the an­nounce­ment with me and with our community.”

“I also know Delle Donne and As­so­ciates will be pro­vid­ing us with im­prove­ments to that cen­ter, so we can ex­pect some facelift work done as well as [im­prove­ments to] the park­ing lot and the light­ing in the park­ing lot,” she added.

Fair­field Shop­ping Cen­ter has been with­out an an­chor since Su­per­fresh closed in Novem­ber 2015, after its par­ent com­pany Great At­lantic & Pa­cific Tea Com­pany, Inc. — com­monly known as A&P — filed for bank­ruptcy.

Acme had an­nounced plans to take over the store along with the A&P-owned Path­mark in Col­lege Square Shop­ping Cen­ter. How­ever, while the Path­mark was quickly con­verted to an Acme, the com­pany never went through with the pur­chase of Su­per­fresh.

Since then, the va­cant Su­per­fresh has been the sub­ject of ru­mors and spec­u­la­tion as res­i­dents of Fair­field, Fair­field Crest and other sur­round­ing neigh­bor­hoods be­moaned the loss of the gro­cery store.

Var­i­ous city of­fi­cials have lob­bied Delle Donne, pri­vately and pub­licly, to bring another mar­ket to the shop­ping cen­ter, cit­ing the im­pact Su­per­fresh’s clo­sure has had on nearby res­i­dents, es­pe­cially se­niors and dis­abled res­i­dents.

“They need a community store that they can walk to,” Coun­cil­man Luke Chap­man, who rep­re­sents the area, said last year.

Be­sides the Su­per­fresh space, Fair­field Shop­ping Cen­ter also has other va­can­cies, in­clud­ing a stand­alone build­ing that last housed a PNC Bank.

Though progress has been slow, Delle Donne in­sisted last week the shop­ping cen­ter is a pri­or­ity for him.

Delle Donne’s fa­ther, Eu­gene, built the shop­ping cen­ter in 1968, and the younger Delle Donne re­called help­ing his fa­ther at the con­struc­tion site at age 11.

“This is a pet project of mine,” he said.

NE­WARK POST PHOTO BY JOSH SHAN­NON

De­vel­oper Ernie Delle Donne said he has landed a ten­ant to re­place the shut­tered Su­per­fresh in Fair­field Shop­ping Cen­ter.

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