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What Should Take the Old A&P's Place in Clark?

In this series, we ask for your vision for vacant properties.

What does Westfield Avenue need?

In our new series, we ask what you'd put in the available spaces in Clark and Garwood. In this edition, we tackle the old A&P property at 52 Westfield Avenue in Clark.

This 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, 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. "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 argues that the property owner has been actively marketing the space in the past six months. "You have to understand that it hasn’t been marketed until recently when they brought us on," says Gerbsman. "A&P was still in control of the property."

Gerbsman says he is looking into both single tenants and possibly dividing up the space. Though he can't comment as to interested parties, Gerbsman says there are several and that he is actively and aggressively pursuing tenants.

"It could be ideal for a supermarket, drug store, health club, hard goods, soft goods or any typical retail use," says Gerbsman.

Gerbsman is unable reveal the listing price at this point in time.

"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," says Gerbsman. "Plus, a big selling point is that it’s in Clark, which is a densely populated, active community."

So tell us, Clark: What would you put there? Another supermarket? A drug store? A gym? Retail? Something else?

Take our poll and leave your vision for the space in our comments section.

Prospective buyers out there? Get in touch with Gerbsman at 914-576-7500.

About this column: In highlighting vacant buildings in Clark and Garwood, we aim to help residents take a proactive role in planning and building their community. Know of a vacant space we should highlight? Email jessica.remo@patch.com.

donna schwendeman April 25, 2012 at 11:33 AM
You are so right that was a place where family, friends and teens could go to have fun.
Jessica Remo April 25, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Hi all - Just want to update you re Trader Joe's. I, too, had heard rumor of Trader Joe's once upon a time. Because so many of you said you'd like to see a Trader Joe's, I reached out to their public relations director, Alison Mochizuki, a few times this week. I keep getting her voicemail and leaving messages, so hopefully she will call me back soon. Anyway, will let her know there is a groundswell of support for Trader Joe's here in Clark and see what she thinks. Will also try to get some clarification on whether or not they were interested at some point previously. Will keep you posted!
Pete Buck April 25, 2012 at 08:21 PM
I would love to see a whole foods come into town. They are way better than trader joe's in my opinion.
Janet January 31, 2013 at 09:27 PM
Did you ever hear back from Trader Joe's public relations director about the interest for a Trader Joe's in Clark?
Jessica Remo February 01, 2013 at 06:14 PM
No, Janet! I was really quite shocked (and miffed) in fact to hear absolutely nothing back. I called and emailed her multiple times over the course of two months and could not get her or anyone else on the phone. Guess they've got bigger and more important things to worry about then returning calls from journalists. Hmpf.

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