Trader Joe’s to Open in Harlem

Grocery chain joins growing number of retailers putting down roots in Upper Manhattan

Harlem /
| 08 Jan 2021 | 02:45

Come 2023, Upper Manhattan will finally have a Trader Joe’s.

The popular grocery chain is expected to move into the lower level of the new Urban League Empowerment Center – which will house the headquarters for the National Urban League as well as the state’s first civil rights museum – at 21 West 125th Street in Harlem. Trader Joe’s will occupy 28,000 square feet of the 17-story complex upon the project’s completion.

“Now, as always, Trader Joe’s appreciates being a part of a new opportunity, a source for nourishment, and a safe, welcoming environment for people to come together and shop,” said Kenya Friend-Daniel, PR Director at Trader Joe’s. “We are excited to open our doors in this groundbreaking location, and we look forward to serving Harlem, a community rich in culture and diversity, as their neighborhood grocery store.”

The store will become the 13th location for the grocery chain in the city and its ninth in Manhattan. Another store is expected to open later this year under the Queensboro Bridge on the Upper East Side.

Trader Joe’s also joins the growing number of big name retailers to put down roots in Harlem in recent years, including Whole Foods. Target will also occupy the lower level of the complex, taking up 44,000 square feet. The two will serve as anchor tenants.

The grocer’s arrival in the neighborhood comes at great demand, according to a 2019 poll conducted by the Curious Uptowner, which found that 91 percent of responder wanted a Trader Joe’s in Upper Manhattan. The store will also help fill the void left by Fairway Market since the company’s bankruptcy forced the closure of the Harlem location after 25 years operating at Riverside Drive.

The $242 million project will include a mix of 170 supportive and affordable housing units for people making between 30 and 80 percent of area median income, 70,000 square feet of offices and 90,000 square feet of retail. The building will offer below-market office space for several nonprofits, including the United Negro College Fund, 100 Black Men, Inc. and Jazzmobile.

“This continues to be a dream project for our development team,” said S. Andrew Katz, Principal of The Prusik Group, which is one of the leading developers of the project. They are joined by BRP Companies, L+M Development Partners, Taconic Partners, as well as Empire State Development. Beyer Blinder Belle designed the building.

“We are beyond thrilled to bring the National Urban League back to Harlem, open the first civil rights museum in the state, and now, one of most beloved grocery stores in the country alongside it,” said Katz. “We’re looking forward to welcoming the community to what will be a cultural and commercial hub for Harlem in 2023.”

“This continues to be a dream project for our development team.” Andrew Katz, Principal of The Prusik Group