Wegmans Replacing Astor Place Kmart at 770 Broadway

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Move over, Kmart Wegmans is coming through.

The popular, Rochester, N.Y.-based grocery chain signed a 30-year lease for 82,000 square feet to take over the former Kmart storefront at 770 Broadway for its first Manhattan store, in a move sure to delight city-dwelling upstaters in particular, landlord Vornado Realty Trust announced Thursday. Wegmans plans to open its doors in the second half of 2023.

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“We are delighted to be part of bringing the beloved Wegmans to Manhattan,” Steven Roth, chairman and CEO of Vornado, said in a statement. “Wegmans is one of a kind and will be a best-in-class addition to Manhattan, both for the local neighborhoods and as a destination for residents from across the island.”

Wegmans will take over the street and lower levels from Kmart, an Astor Place mainstay that turned off its blue light for good earlier this month on short notice.

The grocery chain signed an agreement with Kmart owner Transformco to buy out the 770 Broadway lease, then inked a deal with Vornado, the landlord said.

Shoppers and store employees of Manhattan’s last-remaining Kmart were only given a two-day notice that the once-thriving discount store was shuttering for good, leaving many to mourn its loss.

“It was a bit sudden for us and we believe it was sudden for Kmart as well. We didn’t get a very lengthy note time,” Rachel Brandon, a spokeswoman with Village Alliance, the business improvement district for Greenwich Village, previously told Commercial Observer. “One time, I ripped my pants at work and grabbed a pair of black pants there.”

However, rabid fans of the grocery chain — dubbed “Wegmaniacs” — will likely be excited to have another Wegmans in the city. The store opened its first New York City outpost at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 2019, drawing more than 25,000 people on its opening day despite heavy rain.

“Wegmans is not a mere grocery store: It’s a grocery retreat — a place of respite,” a loyal fan previously told CO.

The Wegmans deal was brokered by RIPCO Real Estate. Representatives for RIPCO and Vornado did not provide the asking rent.

“We were privileged to work alongside Wegmans and Vornado to arrange this landmark Manhattan retail transaction,” RIPCO’s Gene Spiegelman said in a statement. “This transaction represents the best of New York City’s future with Wegmans’ long-term commitment to deliver Wegmans reputation for quality and customer service to Manhattan.”

Nicholas Rizzi can be reached at nrizzi@commercialobserver.com.