EAST VILLAGE — East 14th Street may be getting another Trader Joe’s.
The grocery chain is eyeing the commercial space attached to an upcoming residential development on East 14th Street between Avenues A and B, the property’s developer revealed Tuesday during a meeting with Community Board 3’s transportation subcommittee.
“It’s not a totally done deal, but we think that we’re close,” Ari Goldstein, vice president of development at the Extell Development Company, told DNAinfo New York.
Extell is currently building a seven-story residential and commercial site that will span 500–524 E. 14th St., bringing 160 apartments — 32 of which will be below-market-rate — and two ground-floor retailers to the neighborhood.
If the deal pans out, Trader Joe’s will take over a storefront on the corner of East 14th Street and Avenue A, said Goldstein — in part to help offset the hellish lines at the chain’s most popular city location, sitting just a few blocks way at 142 E. 14th St. near Union Square.
“That is their most profitable store right now, and the line to get in that store … is insane,” said Goldstein. “They’re concerned they’re losing credibility with their customers because they’re not offering a good quality experience. So this would supplement that and pull a lot of traffic away from that store.”
The new location would serve customers in the East Village and Stuyvesant Town who would otherwise have to trek to the Union Square location, Goldstein said.
The developer dropped the news during a meeting about the site’s loading docks, which had been a topic of concern among neighbors. While the city’s zoning text requires a loading dock in the rear of the development on East 13th Street, residents had strongly objected to the influx of commercial traffic on their block.
In order to minimize loading and unloading on 13th Street, Extell will put two additional 75-foot loading zones on 14th Street and Avenue A. The transportation subcommittee voted to approve the plan at Tuesday’s meeting.
The conflict surrounding the loading docks was one of the final hurdles in finalizing the deal with Trader Joe’s, Goldstein said.
Now if the plan gets through the full board May 19, the grocery will be one step closer to becoming a reality, according to the developer.
Trader Joe’s corporate office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.