In the Newark University Heights neighborhood, 11.5 acres have sat vacant since the 1967 Newark Riots, despite decades of effort to revitalize the community.
This block is now the site of the Springfield Avenue Marketplace, a 274,000-square-foot retail and housing development that will provide 152 housing units and is currently anchored by a new 67,000-square-foot ShopRite supermarket.
This ShopRite is owned and operated by Neil Greenstein, a third-generation grocer. To ensure that the store meets the needs of its customers, Greenstein spent two years meeting with community members and plans to purchase produce from the Greater Newark Conservancy community garden across the street. Greenstein partnered with Uplift Solutions, an organization that supports the development of supermarkets in underserved communities, to tailor his ShopRite to the area’s needs.
With capital from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as part of the New Jersey Food Access Initiative and the federal Healthy Food Financing Initiative, Reinvestment Fund provided equipment financing in partnership with Uplift Solutions and Bridgeway Capital, based in Pittsburgh, PA. We are also provided a construction loan for the development of Springfield Avenue Marketplace, a $91 million project from Tucker Development that also includes financing from Goldman Sachs, TriState Bank, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, and New Jersey Community Capital.
More than 25,000 residents of University Heights and its surrounding area lacked access to a full-service supermarket. Approximately half of these households do not have access to a vehicle, in an area where the poverty rate by census tract is between 25% and 40%. The ShopRite increases access to healthy food and also makes a dietician available to both employees and customers. Greenstein is reserving 700 square feet of the store for a federally qualified health center, increasing health resources in a medically underserved area. To help address Newark’s high unemployment rates, the store is will hire Newark residents for many of the full- and part-time union jobs the store will create.