Is Trader Joe’s Still Opening at Essex Crossing? [Updated]
Messaging about its fate has grown somewhat ambiguous since plans were first announced in October 2016. Rumors and speculation are now circulating that the popular supermarket reportedly backed out of the project altogether. Most obvious is the fact that the Lower East Side location is not mentioned on the company’s website as “opening soon” like others currently in progress. Also, PR for Trader Joe’s isn’t too forthcoming on the timeline. (It’s still listed on the Essex Crossing website, though.)
Basically, there seems to be a disconnect between the two parties.
James Yolles of Risa Heller Communications, the public relations firm representing Essex Crossing, maintains that launch remains scheduled for later this year. And that the status quo still rules. “Nothing has changed, [Trader Joe’s is] under construction in Site 5 (145 Clinton) now and still expected to open in 2018.”
When pushed on a more concrete date, Yolles noted that it’s “just 2018” for now.
Meanwhile, Trader Joe’s itself is a bit more dodgy. In-house spokesperson Kenya Friend-Daniel told us that there is “no confirmed date at this time” for the opening. When asked if the Essex Crossing grocery was still in play for the Site 5 space, Friend-Daniel replied, “We are interested in bringing a Trader Joe’s to that location later this year, but we have nothing else to confirm. It is our goal now to post openings on our website closer to the opening date.”
“We are interested” is the operative phrase here. Interested. Would an enormous national grocery chain really employ this messaging several months out from an opening date? Wouldn’t it instead be something like, “opening is expected,” as Yolles stated?
Update: Yolles at Essex Crossing confirms that “We have executed a lease with Trader Joe’s. They are expected to begin construction within the next month and will open in 145 Clinton Street upon completion.”
The hyperlocal publication within the Seward Park Co-op, SPBuzz, first reported on this, and noted similar interactions with Trader Joe’s corporate.
It’s also worth noting that Trader Joe’s recently nixed its plans for a 14th Street outpost.
We’ll see how this shakes out.