Booker and Christie bond over groundbreaking of Newark ShopRite

By David Giambusso/The Star-Ledger
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on October 17, 2013

Before groundbreaking ceremonies of the new Springfield Avenue Marketplace ShopRite supermarket, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, left, and Governor Chris Christie greet each for the first time since Booker's election win last night for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the death of Senator Frank Lautenberg. Newark, NJ 10/17/13 (Robert Sciarrino/The Star-Ledger)


NEWARK — It was a “kumbaya” moment for Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Gov. Chris Christie, but one that will have a lasting impression in Newark.

Despite being on opposing sides during Booker’s victorious U.S. Senate run against Republican Steve Lonegan, the two men once again touted their bipartisan alliance Thursday with the groundbreaking of the Springfield Avenue Marketplace, a $94 million retail and housing complex that includes a 66,000 square-foot ShopRite supermarket along one of Newark’s most troubled corridors.

“This is not because of a mayor. It really is because of great leadership on many different fronts,” Booker said, thanking Christie, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, the City Council and project developer Tucker Development, the company that also built the downtown Courtyard Marriott.

Booker heaped thanks on the developer, Richard Tucker, but also credited his partnership with Christie for helping to usher in much of Newark’s economic development boom.

“It happened because I have a governor who put partisanship aside, stood by this city and delivered for us. We’re seeing it today,” Booker said.

Christie returned the praise, saying he looked forward to working with Booker when he takes office in the U.S. Senate.

The governor also touted his Newark roots, pointing out that until age 5, he lived just down the street from where the plaza will be built.

“Our state will only reach it’s full potential if our cities reach their full potential,” Christie said.

The development will take roughly 15 months to construct and include 152 units of market-rate housing and another 55,000 square-feet of retail on top of the supermarket which will have community meeting rooms, an in-house health clinic and a dietician.

The ShopRite will help fill a major void in central Newark, which until recently was considered a “food desert.”

A Food Depot opened in the Central Ward last year and a Whole Foods was recently announced for downtown, but many Newarkers have been stuck with slim pickings for fresh meat and produce for decades.

Christie, perhaps testing lines for a potential presidential run, said the marriage of Republicans, Democrats and private investment was an example of doing the work that voters expect.

“When we show honor to each other that is the strongest expression of honor to the people that we can make,” Christie said.

Do you like this post?

Be the first to comment