Updated 07/20/2010 04:42 PM
East River Plaza Officially Opens For Big-Box Business
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Mayor Bloomberg and other elected officials attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday for the East River Plaza, the much-anticipated Harlem shopping center which features Manhattan’s first Costco and Target stores.
It is being hailed as a win-win for the neighborhood as it brings both shopping and jobs to the neighborhood.
Developers say, to date, the project has created more than 1,000 permanent jobs, about 700 of which have gone to residents of Upper Manhattan.
"I drove past this site everyday. We keep an office on the Upper East Side and I passed it twice a day," said Blumenfeld Development Group Vice President David Blumenfeld. "We're in the big-box retail business. We looked at this site and thought what a fabulous way to bring big-box retail to Manhattan."
Costco, Bob's Discount Furniture and several other tenants of the 500,000-square-foot mall are already open. Target and Marshall's will open Sunday.
"These are the kind of stores that people want to go to when they want to shop," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "They offer a wide variety of products at competitive prices, just what used to inspire customers to drive all the way out to Long Island and New Jersey to do their shopping."
"This development team with Varsity, Blumenfeld and all the community partners have really built a good working relationship, where now this project, I feel, has been more responsive to the real needs of the community," said Manhattan Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito. "So you've got retailers here that are providing affordable products. They are retailers that are really in tune with the needs of the community, that are for the most part good employers."
Developers say landlords of buildings on truck delivery routes near the retail complex were offered double pane windows and air conditioners to help keep noise out. The project was also designed to keep truck traffic off residential streets including 117th.
Objectors to the project are concerned about the increased traffic and noise that the businesses will bring to the neighborhood, and Mark-Viverito said that the developers and the community will continue to monitor those issues.
Local Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito tells NY1 she and community leaders will keep their eye on the situation.
East River Plaza is located at 116th Street, right off the Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive.