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Interest From Buyers on Long-Vacant A&P Building, Reports Clark BA

Business administrator John Laezza announced the news at the Jan. 22 council meeting.

Clark Business Administrator John Laezza reported that he had good news at council's Jan. 22 meeting: interest from buyers on the vacant former A&P building on Westfield Avenue.

"The A&P owner called and he’s going to set up a meeting within the next two weeks," said Laezza. "He thinks we have positive action."

Laezza said it has been 12 years that the building has sat vacant. He did not reveal who was interested in the space.

Thirty-two percent voted for "retail," while 30 percent chose "other" and 25 percent chose "another supermarket." Our story also garnered a whopping 40 comments as readers wrote in about their vision for the former A&P. Read the story and comments, here.

The Westfield Avenue supermarket was closed several years ago as the much larger A&P Fresh opened on Raritan Road. The property includes the 24,500-square-foot building, plus about 100 parking spaces.

The vacant building has been a point of contention, and Mayor Sal Bonaccorso has been vocal about his frustrations with the empty space in such a high-profile location. According to listing agent Jason Gerbsman of Welco Realty when Patch interviewed him last April, A&P's existing lease had not expired and the supermarket chain was not able to secure a renter for the remainder of their lease.

"I'm deeply disappointed in the ownership of the former Jack's Tavern and A&P for not cooperating," Bonaccorso told Patch in April. "I know a dozen people who approached them for many years, but they were happy collecting rent from A&P. Private property is private property, and we shouldn’t really have a role in someone’s private property, but this is a downtown area if it becomes a blight I will take very aggressive action to put a real plan in place to develop those areas."

Gerbsman responded to the criticism saying that the property owner had just begun actively marketing the space. "You have to understand that it hasn’t been marketed until recently when they brought us on," said Gerbsman. "A&P was still in control of the property."

At that time, Gerbsman said he was looking into both single tenants and possibly dividing up the space.

"It's a freestanding building with terrific access from both Westfield Avenue and Broadway, has great visibility and exposure, and is conveniently located close to the Garden State Parkway," said Gerbsman. "Plus, a big selling point is that it’s in Clark, which is a densely populated, active community."

John January 25, 2013 at 02:24 PM
I seem to remember the Mayor recently stated that a certain "party" was interested in the USG property, but couldn't release details. Why does the Mayor/Council ask for the residents' input on the use of these properties, yet withhold information on the prospective buyers? Sounds like a "bait and switch" to me! Inquiring minds want to know?
MammaLuke January 25, 2013 at 05:05 PM
A Trader Joe's type business would be great there!
Jennifer Lynn January 25, 2013 at 06:27 PM
the last thing we need is another supermarket. we already have 3 major supermarkets why do we need another 1? what cartoon uses a place for the younger generation to hang out like a sports bar or something similar
Carl Gates January 25, 2013 at 09:51 PM
Here's a crazy thought. How about a bowling alley. I really miss the Clark Lanes and it would give more kids and adults in town something to do besides sit home on their computers.
KJS January 26, 2013 at 12:50 AM
"if it becomes a blight" I think it has been one for 12 yrs. Bar/Restaurant wouldnt be half bad
Kris January 27, 2013 at 09:33 PM
Buffalo Wild Wings!
John January 28, 2013 at 02:37 AM
Now THAT is about the most intelligent thought I've heard so far! Great Idea!!!
Perc January 28, 2013 at 03:07 AM
A methadone clinic.
WW January 30, 2013 at 02:44 PM
A meth lab.
Susan Ruegamer Moraghan January 31, 2013 at 06:02 PM
I heard Trader Joe's was interested, but they wanted to buy the place and were denied. Would be nice to see something nice there like a restaurant like the Melting Pot. Seems like it would be too small for bowling. Something fun for kids would be good too. Not a Bounce U, but some place kids and go to and enjoy. Or maybe a Dave and Busters so everyone could enjoy it!

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