City Officials Hope Move Will Urge More National Retailers To Open In Newark

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A new business is opening in New Jersey’s largest city.

Whole Foods announced it will be opening in downtown Newark.

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“I was hoping it wouldn’t take so long, but we’re here and we’re happy to be here,” Whole Foods regional president Christina Minardi said. “We’re very happy to be here.”

The Whole Foods will take up 29,000 square feet on the main floor of the old historic Hahne department store building on Broad Street near the Rutgers Newark campus, the Prudential Center and NJPAC.

“Gives us an opportunity to provide healthy and affordable food to this community,” Minardi said. “Because the purpose of this is to build a store where this community comes shopping in our store.”

Mayor Cory Booker, a vegetarian, has long lobbied the market to open in Newark, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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The Broad Street store is not expected to open until 2016, but city officials said the national chain signing a lease in Newark is a big deal.

“You know, we’re really seeing a transformation of our downtown,” City Economic Development Director Adam Zipkin said. “I think Newark for a long time has had a perception problem.”

Zipkin said he hopes more big chains will follow suit.

“The importance of having a national retailer like Whole Foods come here is now I think what will happen and what has happened in other places is that other national retailers will take a second look at Newark and potentially follow in Whole Foods’ footsteps,” said Zipkin.

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