NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The space occupied by SuperFresh before it skipped town on its $768,000 tab is attracting interest from prospective tenants who would repurpose it to house office workers, according to the New Brunswick Parking Authority.
That would seem to indicate the odds of another supermarket taking up residence in the 49,000-square-foot space at the base of a parking deck in the Wellness Center on Kirkpatrick Street seem to be dimming.
The owners of the supermarket, who rented the space from the New Brunswick Parking Authority, had fallen almost $800,000 behind in their monthly rent payments. As a result, the Parking Authority filed for eviction. Within days, the supermarket was gone.
Before SuperFresh, there was FreshGrocer. The Pennsylvania-based company leased the space from the Parking Authority for about 18 months before closing in 2014. It also owed the Parking Authority back rent - about $1 million.
That has left the New Brunswick Parking Authority scrambling to fill the vacancy.
Mitchell Karon, the executive director of the Parking Authority, said there has been "discussions with interested parties."
"We have received inquiries from retailers but mainly from organizations looking for office space," according to an email provided to TAPinto New Brunswick.
The Parking Authority has enlisted the help of Pierson Commercial Real Estate to assist in obtaining a tenant or tenants. Karon has previously stated the Parking Authority would consider subdividing the space.
When asked if a popup commercial space could move in on a short-term basis - such as a seasonal store for Halloween or Christmas - Karon said, "If there is no progress with negotiations or if a long term lessee has not been found, temporary usage of the space would be considered."
Karon was asked if the former SuperFresh site is not entwined with the fate of The Hub, an ambitious, yet unrealized mixed-use project that would cover 1.7 million square feet of space adjacent to the Wellness Center and across from the train station.
"The space can succeed independently from The Hub," he said. "In turn, the space can also succeed as auxiliary space for The Hub."
Although the Parking Authority continues to search for a tenant for the Wellness Center space, another one of its tenants is ready to open its doors.
Redd's Biergarten is set to open for business on Aug. 19, according to its Facebook page.
TAPinto New Brunswick reported in January that Redd's would be moving into the space formerly occupied by Brother Jimmy’s Barbecue at 5 Easton Ave.
It will be the third location for Redd's. The first Redd's bar and restaurant opened in Carlstadt, near MetLife Stadium in 2002, run by the Palsi family.
In 2016, brothers Doug and Dan Palsi, and their life-long friend Dan Pinto opened Redd's Biergarten in Newark, near the Prudential Center.