The Giant Co. will locate one of its grocery stores in a portion of a vacant Sears in Northeast Philadelphia that will undergo a $24 million redevelopment.
Giant will occupy about 60,000 square feet of the three-story, 237,151-square-foot property at Great Northeast Plaza at the intersection of Bustleton and Cottman avenues. It is one of several tenants that have leased space at the former department store, which closed in April 2018 and is now being transformed into a retail complex.
Ashley Flower, spokeswoman for Giant, confirmed the grocer will have a new store at the center but declined to provide additional details. Giant currently operates a store on Grant Avenue that is about three miles away from Great Northeast Plaza.
The redevelopment project is essentially leased up with a list of tenants that underscores which retailers are willing to strike deals during a pandemic as they look forward, banking on a brighter future. In the case of Great Northeast Plaza, a grocery and furniture store — Ashley Furniture is taking 52,000 square feet — will serve as anchors to the vacant Sears space. Grocers have become essential retailers during the coronavirus and, as more people are buying and sheltering in their homes, furniture and other durable goods have been in high demand.
Other tenants in the lineup include: Planet Fitness with 23,000 square feet, Hand and Stone Massage and Facial Spa with 2,800 square feet and Hairbuzz with 22,000 square feet. This is in addition to Starbucks and Jollibee, two retailers that will occupy newly built structures on outparcels. TD Bank and Holy Redeemer are existing tenants.
Late last fall, Abrams Realty and Development and Bock Development paid $28.75 million for the former Sears with a plan to redevelop it. At the time, the project was 98% pre-leased though details of the new tenants were limited. That it leased up so quickly, even during the pandemic, didn’t surprise the developer.
“That’s how strong the Cottman Avenue Corridor is and is actually getting stronger,” Abrams said. “The corridor is going through a renaissance of sorts and our project is part of it. We could have leased a lot more space if we had it, especially outparcels.”
Most of the redevelopment is expected to be completed by November.
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