Retail mall opens in the Hub
After much fanfare, a new 88,000 square-foot retail facility, opened in July at 149th Street between Bergen and Brook avenues. The two-story development is home to Vistasite Eye Care, DaVita Dialysis Center, Brightpoint Health, Metropolitan College of New York, Boston Market, Dunkin Donuts, a Fine Fare supermarket and a 6,000 square-foot outdoor park with benches and gardens. In addition, 83 rooftop parking spaces are planned.
The Triangle Plaza Hub replaces a municipal parking lot.
On a recent weekday, shoppers said they welcomed Fine Fare because its prices are lower than other stores in the area. One local shopper, Bethany Wright, said she used to ride the subway from 161st Street all the way down to the Whole Foods at Union Square when she needed her chocolate fix. Now she’s a ten-minute walk from the new supermarket, where bars of 70% dark chocolate are stocked.
“We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the turnout,” said the store’s owner, Frank Pimentel. “In the immediate vicinity, there are no other supermarkets.”
The store is part of the city’s FRESH initiative, which is meant to increase access to nutritious foods in low-income communities. Along with dark chocolate, Wright had lentils and Brussels sprouts in her shopping cart.
At Vistasite Eye Care, store manager Magalia Martinez is eager for business to improve.
“Not as many people come in as we want,” she said. The new store sells higher-end glasses that are more expensive than other nearby eyeglass stores. Doctors provide eye exams every day except for Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Brightpoint Health Center offers primary care and mental health services.
Metropolitan College of New York offers undergraduate and graduate programs, and tuition is around $20,000 a year. Registration is now open and classes start in September.
Angel Rodriguez, the new facility’s super, lives nearby and said that residents have been antsy for the plaza to open. The community especially needed the dialysis center because locals have been traveling to Manhattan for treatment, he said.
According to the city, the project has created 191 permanent jobs. Rodriguez said he used to earn minimum wage at his retail job, but now makes around $20 an hour as super.
Developer Triangle Equities was awarded the $35 million project from the city, in partnership with the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group.