Wegmans, an upstate supermarket chain, will take over the former Kmart site in Astor Place, the company announced on Thursday.
It will be the first to open in Manhattan and the second in New York City, after the grocer and its devoted following descended on the Brooklyn Navy Yard two years ago.
Deep breaths, Wegmaniacs: the future supermarket isn’t scheduled to open until the second half of 2023, as the developer, Vornado Realty Trust, works to convert the current ghostly iteration of the borough’s last Kmart into a space worthy of what some consider to be the world’s best grocery store.
The beloved food emporium began as a Rochester-based vegetable pushcart in the early 20th century, and now operates 106 stores along the East Coast. The suburban-style stores are known for their enormous footprint and mountains of gleaming produce, as well as a substantial number of eat-in options.
Despite moving to Manhattan, Wegmans won’t be downsizing. The store will occupy the street level and basement of 770 Broadway — a combined 82,000 square footage, or 8,000 more than their Brooklyn counterpart.
Unlike the outer-borough version, the future Wegmans will be easily accessible by mass transit, likely eliminating the need for 700 parking spaces.
We’ve reached out to the grocer and Vornado about whether the lease will impact the secret 6 train entrance in the basement — we’ll update if hear back.
In early July, New Yorkers mourned as the Astor Place Kmart shuttered without notice; while the store was unwelcome when it first arrived in 1996, it was eventually embraced by locals, though upon its closure most had trouble expressing why that was.