ATLANTIC CITY (December 18, 2018) – Atlantic City will likely see its first supermarket since 2004 break ground next year.
The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, who partnered with Uplift Solutions Inc., is eyeing a parcel of land on Baltic Avenue by the Convention Center for development.
“Atlantic City is a food desert and the Atlantic City Executive Council is working hard to address this problem,” said Lisa Ryan, a Department of Community Affairs spokesperson. “CRDA has provided funding to engage a team to get the financial and logistical work done and the hope is to break ground on a supermarket in 2019, potentially on CRDA-owned land on Baltic Avenue near the Atlantic City Convention Center.”
The DCA, a state agency, has had direct control of Atlantic City’s government since 2016’s Municipal Stabilization and Recovery Act was passed.
Exactly which grocery store chain will land in the city is unclear. Jeff Brown, the chair of Uplift, a grocery store consulting firm, owns more than a dozen Fresh Grocer and ShopRite locations in the Philadelphia area.
But the CRDA says it will take into account residents’ preferences, according to Karen Martin, a spokesperson for CRDA.
In October, the CRDA hired Uplift to address the lack of a major supermarket in the city. Residents’ options for grocery shopping are limited to corner stores and discount grocers like Save-A-Lot.
An IGA location in the city closed in 2004 following issues with theft and vandalism.
The groups involved are in fact-finding mode, said Martin. The CRDA and Uplift are exploring funding options that include private capital, public subsidies and tax credits. They hope to both start construction and open “in the 2019–2020 time frame,” she said.
“Site visits are taking place in other markets such as Philadelphia, to research what type of operators would be a good match for Atlantic City residents and addressing the unique challenges associated with building and operating a supermarket in urban communities,” Martin said.
CRDA Executive Director Matt Doherty sees the project as a potential boost for the city’s rebirth.
“A good, quality supermarket experience is a necessity to attract middle class families to Atlantic City and to provide this type of amenity to current families living here,” Doherty said.