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NEW YORK CITY-Upper East Side fancy-food retailer Grace’s Marketplace has purchased a parcel of city-owned land in Harlem. The company will construct a new building to house its wholesale operations as well as office space and a ground-floor retail store to serve the Harlem community.

The 13,627-sf lot is located on Park Avenue and East 121st Street. Grace’s wholesale plant is currently located in East Harlem, at 530 East 119th St. After the new facility is constructed, the company will sell that property to the Blumenfeld Development Group to become part of East River Plaza, a 480,000-square-foot shopping center that is to include Home Depot, Costco, Best Buy, Staples and Old Navy, among others.

Grace’s owners Joseph and Grace Doria will invest roughly $2.7 million to build a three-story, 27,200-sf building on the Park Avenue site, which they purchased from the city for $136,270. In addition to housing Grace’s wholesale business, the facility will include 6,400 sf of leasable office space and a 1,900-sf street-level retail store. Grace’s operates a retail market at 1237 Third Ave.

“Because we service and supply most restaurants and hotels throughout the City, we felt it was important to remain in Manhattan,” says Joseph Doria. “The opportunity to buy the parcel on Park Avenue came along at the right time. Not only will we expand our existing wholesale business, we plan to introduce a small Grace’s retail store to the Harlem community. Our project will benefit many residents, as well as businesses, and help improve the City’s economy,” he adds.

“This is a great example of the public and private sectors working together to revitalize neighborhoods and create jobs,” says New York City Empire Development Corp. president Andrew M. Alper. “This project will result in the development of an under-used City property with a new facility for a long-time Harlem business. It will also enable the East River Plaza project to move forward to bring quality shopping and up to 2,000 jobs to the residents of Harlem.”

Governor George Pataki and former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announced in March 1998 that the former Washburn Wire plant in East Harlem would become a major regional shopping center. BDG acquired the six-acre Washburn Wire site, at the FDR Drive between E. 116th and E. 119th Sts., at federal auction in 1996. The complex was originally scheduled to open in 2000.

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