CA: Binghamton sees end to food desert

CA: Binghamton sees end to food desert

A Dollar Tree discount store will join Save-A-Lot grocery in anchoring the Binghampton Gateway Center, for which construction documents have finally been filed after years of discussions and planning.

The Binghampton Gateway Center will rise at the busy junction where 33,000 to 40,000 commuters drive daily through an impoverished inner-city neighborhood, at the southeast corner of Sam Cooper Boulevard and Tillman Street.

The retail center is in part a response to Binghamton’s designation as a food desert.

Save-A-Lot was signed as an anchor tenant last winter, but construction had to wait until another tenant came aboard. Dollar Tree and Save-A-Lot, said Gray, are “solid national tenants that really meet the neighborhood need. And also serve the general Memphis population.”

The L-shaped first phase totals 33,565 square feet. The grocery will fill 16,325 square feet, Dollar Tree will take 10,000 square feet and a future tenant still being recruited will take 7,240 square feet at the building’s corner.

Gray said the financing has reached “critical mass, but (we) are still accepting donations to support the development of the Gateway.”

Local government is helping in two ways. The City of Memphis has allocated money for infrastructure improvements and the Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE) has provided a “Community Builder” tax break.

The retail center will be on a MATA bus line.

While Save-A-Lot has about 10 groceries in the Memphis area, this will be the first designed in an urban way, built up to the sidewalk for greater pedestrian appeal. Parking will be in the rear of the center.

Even though a Kroger is 1.5 miles away in Poplar Plaza, 27 percent of Binghamton households have no vehicle, Gray has said.

Save-A-Lot will address Binghamton’s nutritional needs by offering fruits, vegetables and meats, unlike many discount and convenience stores in impoverished neighborhoods.

CA: Binghamton sees end to food desert

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