Navy Yard

Brooklyn Navy Yard taps Wegmans supermarket for Admirals Row redevelopment

May 13, 2015 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A Wegmans supermarket is headed for the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Rendering courtesy of Steiner NYC

At last — a supermarket for the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

After two other developers were selected, then rejected, the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp. announced Wednesday that upstate Wegmans will bring the long-awaited grocery store to the waterfront industrial park.

According to a spokesman for the Navy Yard, redevelopment plans for Admirals Row will bring a long-anticipated supermarket, new manufacturing space and a brand new community facility to the site.

Wegmans Food Markets Inc., the country’s highest-ranking retail employer and supermarket operator, will anchor the $140 million redevelopment of Admirals Row led by Steiner NYC, the developer of Steiner Studios. Steiner was designated for the site by the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp. (BNYDC), delivering on a promise made to the surrounding community to provide access to quality food and jobs.

Previously, PA Associates and later Blumenfeld Development Group were tapped to handle the project, then dropped.

Mayor Bill de Blasio called the planned redevelopment “a tremendous win for this community and for the people of New York City.”

The development of the Admirals Row site is projected to create more than 1,200 permanent jobs at the 300-acre Navy Yard, which is the city’s leading industrial park. Wegmans will initially hire 450 people, including 150 people in full-time positions. It is projected that the number of full-time positions may grow to as many as 250, with as many as 600 total jobs expected — twice the overall supermarket jobs and more than three times the full-time positions offered by other proposals vying for the site.

The designation of Steiner NYC for the site follows a request for proposals that was issued by BNYDC last year. Work on the site, which also includes restoration of two of its historic structures, is expected to begin later this year.

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“Wegmans and the entire Admirals Row redevelopment will further the revitalization of the communities around the Brooklyn Navy Yard,” said BNYDC Board Chair Hank Gutman. “Local residents will have good jobs with excellent benefits and access to fresh produce and groceries. The Yard will also be able to attract new businesses and further accommodate current tenants with this added light industrial space. With Steiner, a longtime Yard tenant, at the helm, this project is guaranteed enduring success.”

Wegmans is an industry leader in providing good wages, paid leave, company-funded retirement plans and opportunities for education and career advancement. Wegmans will spend more than $2 million to recruit and train its workforce, and will utilize BNYDC’s Employment Center at BLDG 92 to recruit area residents for the jobs it will create. BNYDC’s local hiring plan includes collaboration with resident leaders from the local New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) buildings, and includes setting up employment centers in the nearby NYCHA developments.

In addition, new light industrial space at the site will spur more than 300 industrial jobs, according to a Navy Yard spokesman. The development site is directly across from the 3,000-resident Farragut Houses and is close to Ingersoll and Walt Whitman Houses and the growing residential neighborhoods in Downtown Brooklyn, Fort Greene and Clinton Hill – all of which lack a high-quality, affordable supermarket. These are communities that have a longstanding need for good-paying jobs and a quality, affordable grocery store.

The Brooklyn Navy Yard is proud to deliver on its promise to bring a supermarket to this neighborhood,” said BNYDC President & CEO David Ehrenberg. “But not just any grocery store. Wegmans is widely recognized as the country’s best supermarket for its affordable, quality food and is also recognized as the best retail employer in the country. And one of the reasons we selected them was because their employee compensation is consistently equal to or better than other food retailers in markets where they have stores.

“With Wegmans and the entire redevelopment of Admirals Row, local residents will gain needed amenities and the Brooklyn Navy Yard will further its mission to create good-paying, high-quality jobs for area residents.”

Wegmans CEO Danny Wegman said,  It is a thrill to bring Wegmans to Brooklyn, along with hundreds of new jobs. Our family started this company in 1916, and we built our business by always putting the needs of our employees first. Our employees are part of our family, and they are the reason for our success.”

BNYDC has also established aggressive community participation goals for the construction of the Admirals Row site, including 30% of the overall contract values awarded to certified minority/women-owned businesses and 15% of contracts targeted to local businesses within Brooklyn.

Workforce goals for the construction phase of the project include 45% of jobs to be held by minority and/or women and a local workforce goal of 25% within local zip codes.

Wegmans, the 85-store, family-owned company, founded in 1916 in Rochester, has been named one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” by FORTUNE magazine for 18 consecutive years, ranking  No. 7 in 2015.

Health-care benefits are available for all full-time employees and part-time employees who work more than 30 hours per week. Employee benefits also include employee scholarships, a company-funded retirement plan, a 401(k) plan with company match and paid vacations. In addition, Wegmans invests heavily in employee training. And, because the company continues to grow and promotes from within, there are many opportunities for career advancement.

In terms of quality and affordability, Consumer Reports ranks it as the country’s top supermarket. Third-party studies of the Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. area markets found that Wegmans is one of the most, if not the most, affordable grocery option, with prices 13% below the average.

“We’ve been very fortunate to have Wegmans stores in our shopping centers for many years,” said Douglas C. Steiner, Chairman of Steiner NYC and Steiner Studios. “We’re thrilled to now be bringing Wegmans to New York City. Their workforce is treated right and has real opportunities for advancement. The result is that the employees are Wegmans’ secret sauce—they’re motivated to give customers a great shopping experience: Great prices, great quality, and great service.”

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said, “The evolution of the Brooklyn Navy Yard into an engine for 21st-Century opportunity has taken another important step forward with the redevelopment of Admirals Row. The new Admirals Row will address many of the challenges facing the communities surrounding the Brooklyn Navy Yard, including long-term food insecurity and access to local hiring opportunities in the retail and industrial sectors.”

In addition to the 74,000-square-foot supermarket, Steiner will develop 78,000 square feet of retail space, 126,000 square feet of light industrial space and 7,000 square feet of community facility space.

In order to accommodate ongoing demand, BNYDC has secured an option to build 100,000 square feet of additional light industrial space above a parking facility as well.

Robert Perris, district manager for Brooklyn Community Board 2, said, “I was born and went to college in Syracuse. Wegmans is well known upstate as a great place to work and a great place to shop. This is a win for everybody. The Navy Yard should be congratulated.”

Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Carlo Scissura called Wegmans’ addition to the Brooklyn Navy Yard “a major step forward to ensuring quality, fresh and affordable produce and foods in one of New York City’s food deserts” and said, “Wegmans will certainly boost economic activity and provide residents with direct access to wholesome, local food.”

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