Urban Edge Properties, a NYSE-listed real estate investment trust focused on managing, acquiring, developing, and redeveloping retail real estate in urban areas, said today that it has signed nearly 60,000 square feet in new leases at Bruckner Commons an open air shopping center in The Bronx, N.Y.
High-demand concepts are all opening in the next year, with Aldi leasing 21,976 square feet; Lot Less, 15,082 square feet; JAG-ONE, 4,000 square feet; Buffalo Wild Wings Go, 1,666 square feet, and Saloncentric, 1,977 square feet.
This shopping center is one of the oldest in the New York area. “If you looked at it in the Eighties or the Nineties, it was a pretty ugly, old rundown shopping center,” said Jeff Mooallem, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Urban Edge Properties. “We started renovating it in 2018. That was our first phase of renovation and we’re still going now. We’re on our third phase of renovation.”
The REIT recently signed a lease with Target Corp., which will open a 100,000-square-foot store, representing its new store prototype, which is focused on building larger stores, after shrinking units for urban areas.
“Target is trying to do bigger stores, and this, certainly, will be one of the bigger ones in New York City,” said Mooallem. “It’s obviously hard to get a lot of space in New York City. They use that for fulfillment of online orders, as well as for retail. They’re taking about half of the first floor and all of the second floor of a former Kmart. It should be their newest concept.”
Mooallem said interest in the project from consumers is running high. “People are very interested in what’s happening at retail,” he said. “We all shop, we all go to stores and we’re curious. It’s a fun thing to talk about, especially when we can bring new food concepts and new retailers to places like The Bronx, which typically, doesn’t always get the first line of great new stores. It’s always great to bring stores like these to this kind of community.”
Urban Edge has invested $80 million in the last few years in Bruckner Commons, Mooallem said.
The property recently signed a lease with Target
“We have two significantly-sized vacancies that we’ll soon announce,” Mooallem said. “I can’t tell you who yet, but they’re similar to Target, national retailers and great credit and uses that are fairly new to The Bronx. We’re also closing in on a deal with a very well-known coffee chain and other food users we think will bring a lot more interest and excitement to the property.”
The center’s pending deal with Buffalo Wild Wings Go will introduce the restaurant’s new to-go-only concept highlighting the most popular menu items in a to-go format. Saloncentric will bring beauty supplies for professionals, providing a much-needed resource for neighboring tenant, Phenix Salons and others in the area. On the second floor, JAG-ONE will offer physical and occupational therapy services.
“With Aldi and Lot Less taking significant positions at Shops at Bruckner, the property continues to build on its reputation as a real community destination,” said Scott Auster, Executive Vice President and Head of Leasing at Urban Edge. “When all of these tenants are open alongside a brand-new Target, we expect to see a boost in consumer traffic to benefit the entire neighborhood.”
Located at the intersection of the Bruckner Expressway (I-287) and White Plains Road in The Bronx, New York, Bruckner Commons serves more than 700,000 people living within three miles of the property and is easily accessible to the 80,000 vehicles that pass the property each day.
There’s such a strong population there, a high demographic location in terms of the number of people that live close by. Target has another location about a mile away, and is not closing that store, but is opening at Bruckner Commons because it’s such a unique location, Mooallem said. “While there is competition from other big shopping centers in The Bronx, we have a pretty unique position in the market. It’s all surface parking, there’s no garage to navigate,” he added.
Tenants that report sales all do above the chain average in sales, Mooallem said. “Aldi and Five Below, we expect to have strong sales, but I don’t have a number in my head for any of them.
“A big part of our company is we look for projects that will bring in new tenants that will service the residents and offer a better quality of stores to shop in than they previously had, and that makes a positive impact on the community,” Mooallem said. “Bringing in better stores and having a newer, fresher, nicer shopping center makes a positive impact on the community, but we also look for organizations to partner with. In this property we’re partnering with Rap4Bronx, an organization that supplies food to vulnerable residents in New York City. We also do a lot of public art programs there and try to be a good citizen for whatever the community needs.
“The Bronx is a special place to be able to develop retail because you have such high population densities that have been ignored for a while by national retailers, and that’s changing,” Mooallem said. “To be on the front lines of that change is very exciting.”