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What you need to know for 01/24/2017

ShopRite eyeing Empire Plaza store

ShopRite eyeing Empire Plaza store

The Empire State Plaza could get its very first grocery store.

The Empire State Plaza could get its very first grocery store.

ShopRite Supermarkets is considering locating a scaled-down grocery store on the concourse level of the plaza in Albany, said Heather Groll, a spokeswoman for the state Office of General Services.

The grocery store would go in the old Citizens Bank space, she said. The supermarket chain conducted focus groups at the plaza two weeks ago and is doing its “due diligence now,” she said, but no decisions have been made as yet.

“We have had great interest from people who work in the plaza complex and would welcome ShopRite to our revitalized concourse,” Groll said in an email.

The plaza, a complex consisting of 10 buildings, houses 11,000 state employees.

“We’re always looking at sites, particularly in Albany,” said Elisabeth Loeb, manager of corporate communications at Wakefern Food Corp., which owns and operates ShopRite stores.

She added that there are no signed leases or agreements in place for the plaza space, so nothing is definitive yet.

It’s unclear what a scaled-down ShopRite would look like. The plaza store would not include a pharmacy, Groll said. ShopRite stores have featured natural and organic products, international goods, gourmet coffee bars, bake shops, a prepared foods section, salad bars, Mediterranean olive bars, full-service floral departments, pharmacy, pick-up grocery service, a Wi-Fi lounge and an on-site dietitian.

A market in that space would mark the fifth ShopRite location in the Capital Region. The supermarket chain has opened four stores in the region since 2011 — in Niskayuna, Slingerlands, Albany and Colonie — intensifying the region’s so-called grocery wars.

Two longtime Capital Region grocers have ongoing relationships with the Empire State Plaza. Hannaford sponsors a Kidz Expo at the plaza each year and Price Chopper reached an agreement last year with OGS to continue sponsoring Fourth of July activities, including a fireworks display, at the Empire State Plaza.

While the plaza has never had its own grocery store, it does have plenty of dining options. A food court features food by Phil’s Kitchen, Capital Q, Honest Weight Co-Op Café, Pho Yum and ’Merican Band Wagon. Dunkin Donuts, Subway, McDonald’s, Au Bon Pain and Euro-Delicacies are located elsewhere in the plaza.

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