Trader Joe’s set to open at major new 125th Street project in Harlem

January 6, 2021

Rendering credit: Beyer Blinder Belle

Trader Joe’s will join Target at a major new mixed-use development in Harlem. It will be the grocery store’s 13th location in New York City. The $242 million project is known as the Urban League Empowerment Center, as it will be home to a new headquarters for the National Urban League and the state’s first civil rights museum. It will also include 170 affordable and mixed-income apartments and office space for local nonprofits.

The National Urban League Empowerment Center is being developed by The Prusik Group, BRP Companies, L+M Development Partners, and Taconic Partners. The 17-story project was first announced back in 2013 but did not receive the necessary approvals to move ahead until July of 2019. Designed by the architects at Beyer Blinder Belle, it’s expected to be completed in 2023.

Trader Joe’s 28,000-square-foot space will join Target as a retail anchor tenant. The grocery chain opened their original New York City location on 14th Street near Union Square 14 years ago. They’ve since added a second location on 14th and Avenue A, one at Essex Crossing, two on the Upper West Side, in Murray Hill, Soho, Rego Park, Cobble Hill, and at City Point in Downtown Brooklyn, with plans for stores in Long Island City and the Upper East Side.

“Now, as always, Trader Joe’s appreciates being a part of a new opportunity, a source for nourishment, and a safe, welcoming environment for people to come together and shop,” said Kenya Friend-Daniel, PR Director at Trader Joe’s. “We are excited to open our doors in this groundbreaking location, and we look forward to serving Harlem, a community rich in culture and diversity, as their neighborhood grocery store.”

As mentioned, the National Urban League will move its downtown headquarters up to the development. The civil rights and urban advocacy organization was founded in the neighborhood in 1910. Below-market office space will be reserved for local nonprofits One Hundred Black Men of New York, the United Negro College Fund New York, and Jazzmobile. There will also be an additional 70,000 square feet of Class A office space.

The Urban Civil Rights Experience Museum will be New York State’s first civil rights museum, focusing on ” the significant contributions of civil rights activists in the northern half of the United States,” according to a press release.

As for the residential component, 170 units of supportive and affordable housing will be set aside for low-income New Yorkers making 30 percent to 80 percent of the Area Median Income.

The project will join a growing list of developments along 125th Street in West Harlem. Whole Foods opened on the corner of Malcolm X Boulevard in 2017; work is underway on the Studio Museum in Harlem’s new David Adjaye-designed home; starchitect Bjarke Ingels has designed a 233-unit rental called The Smile at 158 East 126th Street that will be 70 percent affordable; and there are a slew of other new developments like SIXTY 125.


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