CRDA Agrees to Pay $18.7M to Fund New Atlantic City ShopRite
Atlantic City's time as a so-called "food desert" came a little closer to being over on Tuesday when the CRDA unanimously approved more than $18.7 million in funding for a new ShopRite supermarket in the city.
What is a Food desert?
A food desert is an area that has limited access to affordable and nutritious food, in contrast with an area with higher access to supermarkets or vegetable shops with fresh foods, which is called a food oasis. Atlantic City has been without a major grocery store for more than 15 years.
There are some in Atlantic City who disagree with the food desert classification. Although the nearest supermarkets are in neighboring Ventnor and Absecon, the resort does have a discount grocer, Save A Lot, and a number of bodegas and small, ethnic grocery stores.
What's the Plan for the New Store?
Plans call for a supermarket with more than 44,000 square feet of shopping area at 1801 Baltic Ave., on land close to both the Atlantic City Convention Center and Tanger Outlets The Walk. Most of the property is currently a parking lot, bordered by Indiana and Ohio avenues, between Baltic Avenue and Bacharach Boulevard.
What's the Fine Print on This Deal?
CRDA plans to put $18.7 million into the project and retain ownership of the building and the interior.ShopRite will own the groceries and fund the operation of the store. Under the agreement, Village Supermarket Inc. would lease the property for $1 a year. ShopRite made it known that they wouldn't be interested in the deal without public funding assistance. Plans call for 75 to 100 full-time jobs at the store.
The supermarket project has been in talks since October 2018, but COVID-19 slowed the process down considerably. Still to be disclosed is the length of the agreement with Village Supermarket, Inc. and the timetable for building and opening the store.