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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.

Susan Ruegamer Moraghan April 18, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Would love to see a good sized Farmer's Market. Too bad Sal can't work out a deal with the owner or where the old Tavern was to host local vendors wanting to see their stuff. Rahway has that every Thursday by the train station. Scotch Plains also has that in their park area in the center of town. Would love to see that here. Great way to get not only produce but honey, cakes, pies, etc.
MM April 18, 2012 at 03:53 PM
I agree that it should be a place that people can come together, Clark has nothing like that at all. Our teens have nowhere to go. It should be teen friendly and adult comfortable.
ClarkRes April 18, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Trader Joe's best choice. Second would be a reataurant like Charlie Browns.. Third would be a produce market with organic produce.
Carol Monahan April 18, 2012 at 04:30 PM
I always thought Trader Joe's would be great there. The one in Westfield is always crowded. I think they would do great in Clark.
Peggy Phelan April 18, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Yes I agree with most of the comments stated above. I would love to see Char. Brown's or similar restaurant. Trader Joe's would fill those 100 park. spots in a minute as would an Applebee's or nice Pizza pl. Don't think we need another WAWA store with the 7 -11 coming and Quik Check already on Westfield Ave. Peggy P
Barb Geo April 18, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Something like Eataly in the city. Many individual vendors, produce, fishmonger, artisan cheese, bakery, a couple small restaurants with a food court. Something for everyone. Clark really needs a fish market and GOOD local produce market. The food court would be a great place to meet with friends.
KJS April 18, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Traders joe's will never got there so get over it ppl. Too bad the CVS doesn't expand and take it over? TGIF would be a good idea or something equivalent.
Janet April 18, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Agreed!
GHGFHFGH April 18, 2012 at 07:01 PM
CHIPOTLE!!!!!!!
Eileen April 18, 2012 at 07:32 PM
I think maybe a Christmas tree shop????
Eileen April 18, 2012 at 07:33 PM
I think maybe a Christmas tree shop?
Larry Russo April 18, 2012 at 08:11 PM
I'd say - Farmers market, Trader Joe's or move the CVS there. Maybe split the store in two is a possibility.
DeRo April 18, 2012 at 11:01 PM
TRADER JOES definately! Perfect size parking lot; upscale, specialty items and we wouldn't have to navigate the terrible parking situation at S.R for just a few quick items.
DeRo April 18, 2012 at 11:12 PM
How about a trading post of independant merchants like a 'co-op' that red bank, oceangrove, etc have ; with handmade items, antiques, art, clothes,imported artisan items,gifts, or maybe O'johnnies can expand & add a trendy cafe with homemade treats & lite fare where locals can meet & catch-up. Clark could use some jobs for the local kids too !
John Loconsolo April 19, 2012 at 12:41 AM
What the heck is wrong with all of you people. This location should be the new Clark Lanes. That place was great and the area is in sore need of a good bowling alley.
Jeff Connolly April 19, 2012 at 01:51 AM
Anything would better than that eyesore...PLEASE do something soon!
Gerard Ziobro Sr. April 19, 2012 at 02:15 AM
Maybe Corrados would be interested in a smaller store. They have expanded to 3 towns now. Clifton, Fairfield and Wayne
Gerard Ziobro Sr. April 19, 2012 at 02:29 AM
Who has the Baumels license? I thought the A&P was going to originaly open a liquor store and deli when they moved to Raritan Rd. I believe that A&P was bringing in over 4 million a week in that store. Thats the type of info that needs to be told to possible buyers (if thats true). Again, The entire block needs to be tied together making it a nice shopping area. Where people would want to shop and eat and go from store to store. I want to still have the small town feel that we used to have. I dont want to see oversized buildings.
Hoof_Hearted April 19, 2012 at 03:29 PM
A Village Blacksmith and Stable! My horse threw a shoe this morning! Now I gotta delay planting and go all the way to Mayberry! Darn!
Julia April 19, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Wegmans!!! Please Wegmans. We have a Trader Joe's.
Matt Casey April 19, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Gerard - The old A&P on Westfield Avenue was averaging only about $200,000 per week prior to moving to Raritan Road. That A&P now averages about $450,000 per week. No liquor was ever planned there.
Matt Casey April 19, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Gerard - That A&P on Westfield Avenue averaged only about $200,000 prior to closing. The newer facility on Raritan Road is now averaging about $450,000 per week. And I agree, I'd love to see Westfield Avenue upgraded....
Gerard Ziobro Sr. April 20, 2012 at 12:03 AM
Where did Baumels license go? I thought that A&P bought it
KJS April 20, 2012 at 05:23 PM
JC, stop with the Trader Joe's PEOPLE. NEVER going to happen.
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 (Editor) 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 (Editor) 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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