Atlantic City Convention Center

A potential site for a supermarket would be on Baltic Avenue near the Atlantic City Convention Center.

ATLANTIC CITY — The city may see its first supermarket since 2004 break ground next year, officials say.

The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, which contracted grocery store development consulting firm Uplift Solutions Inc., is eyeing a parcel of land on Baltic Avenue near the Atlantic City Convention Center.

“Atlantic City is a food desert, and the Atlantic City Executive Council is working hard to address this problem,” said Lisa Ryan, spokeswoman for the state Department of Community Affairs, which oversees city operations.

The DCA has had direct control of Atlantic City’s government since 2016’s Municipal Stabilization and Recovery Act was passed.

Exactly which grocery store chain will land in the city is unclear. Jeff Brown, chairman of Uplift, owns more than a dozen Fresh Grocer and ShopRite stores in the Philadelphia area.

But the CRDA says it will take into account residents’ preferences, according to Ryan.

In September, special counsel to the governor Jim Johnson released a report cataloging possible solutions for the city’s problems. One section said the CRDA, the city and the state were looking to bring “a robust merchant of good quality food” to the city.

In October, the CRDA hired Uplift to address the lack of a major supermarket in the city. Residents’ options for grocery shopping are limited to corner stores and discount grocers like Save-A-Lot.

Uplift’s contract with the CRDA is for one year and not to exceed $157,500.

An IGA in the city closed in 2004 following issues with theft and vandalism.

The groups involved are in the research stage, said CRDA spokeswoman Karen Martin. The CRDA and Uplift are exploring funding options that include private capital, public subsidies and tax credits. They hope to start construction and open “in the 2019–2020 time frame,” she said.

“Site visits are taking place in other markets such as Philadelphia, to research what type of operators would be a good match for Atlantic City residents and addressing the unique challenges associated with building and operating a supermarket in urban communities,” Martin said.

CRDA Executive Director Matt Doherty sees the project as a potential boon for the city.

“A good, quality supermarket experience is a necessity to attract middle-class families to Atlantic City and to provide this type of amenity to current families living here,” Doherty said.

Contact: 609-272-7260 cshaw@pressofac.com @ACPressColtShaw

Staff Writer

I cover breaking news on the digital desk. I graduated from Temple University in Dec. 2017 and joined the Press in the fall of 2018. Previously, I freelanced, covering Pennsylvania state politics and criminal justice reform.

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