Home Consumer Goods Wegmans expects to create 500 jobs for its new Harrison grocery store

Wegmans expects to create 500 jobs for its new Harrison grocery store

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A $30 million Wegmans grocery store proposed in Harrison would bring up to 500  jobs at the location, officials with the project told the Harrison Planning Board on Tuesday night.

Representatives from Wegmans Food Markets Inc., Normandy Real Estate Partners LLC and the group’s legal representation, McCullough, Goldberger & Staudt LLP, presented plans for the store proposed for the town’s Platinum Mile. Wegmans has a purchase agreement for three of Normandy’s office buildings at 106, 108 and 110 Corporate Park Drive.

The Rochester-based grocery chain operator’s proposal is to knock down the nearly vacant buildings on the 20-acre plot of land and build a 125,000-square-foot, two-story grocery store with a cafe with 736 parking spaces, plus an additional 8,000-square-foot separate retail building.

Kim Goergen, project manager at Wegmans, told the planning board that Wegmans locations often have as many as 100 employees working at any time.

“We want to make sure that all of our customers are served very well,” Goergen said.

Wegmans hires about 400 to 500 employees with each store opening, Goergen said. That includes 180 full-time positions, as well as full-time salaried positions such as store managers, department managers and pharmacists. Construction of the store would likely create about 200 jobs as well, she said.

The investment in the property is about $30 million, though she cautioned that might be conservative.

Clicking through slides showing photos of other Wegmans locations in the past, Goergen showed one photo of a pub at a Wegmans store. She said stores have included pubs, Italian restaurants and burger bars.

“It’s really just feeling for the demographics and what our folks feel will be best for that store,” Goergen said.

In presenting a history of the company, Goergen said Wegmans is family operated and celebrated its 100th year in operation this year. CEO Danny Wegman, along with his daughters, Colleen Wegman, the company’s president, and Nicole Wegman, senior vice president, represent the third and fourth generation of the family involved in the business.

Last year, Wegmans was named the best supermarket in the country by Yonkers-based Consumer Reports.

The grocery chain has 92 stores total, 46 in New York, 17 in Pennsylvania, seven in New Jersey, 10 in Virginia, eight in Maryland, and four in Massachusetts. There are more stores on the way in the tristate region, including at the Navy Yard development in Brooklyn and two more in New Jersey. The company opens about three to four stores per year, Goergen said.

The Wegman’s site plan includes a special-use exemption and slope permit application required for the project. In a news release last week, Wegmans said it has no current timetable for when the project would be built.

The zoning for the “teardrop” area in Harrison that Wegmans plans to build in, which is bounded by Interstate 287, the Hutchinson River Parkway and I-684, was rezoned earlier this year to allow a residential project down the street from the proposed Wegmans site on Corporate Park Drive. That project,a 421-unit residential building developed in a joint venture of the owner, Normandy, and Pennsylvania-based luxury home developer Toll Brothers, will replace two office buildings at 103 and 105 Corporate Park Drive that will be torn down when construction starts early next year.

The three buildings on the lot add up to about 265,000 square feet total and are about 2 percent occupied, according to Seth Mandelbaum, an attorney with McCullough, Goldberger & Staudt. A day-care center, EastRidge Enrichment Center, near the three office buildings would remain, as well as its parking lot, according to plans filed by the development team.

The 125,000-square-foot store for the Harrison location would make it about average for a Wegmans location. The chain’s stores range between 75,000 square feet and 140,000 square feet, according to the company.

Construction would require the entrance to the building on Corporate Park Drive be converted to a roundabout. Officials with the project said the road would not be connected with Manhattanville Road on the other side of the building.

The Harrison Planning Board named itself lead agency in the review and scheduled a public hearing for January.

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