Plans for Camden grocery appear to have stalled

Plans to build a new ShopRite supermarket on the Admiral Wilson Boulevard in Camden, a project that had been announced for completion next year, seem to have stalled.

The 75,000-square-foot store, which would be the city's second full-service supermarket, was announced in 2013 by local officials, who said it would be the anchor tenant of a shopping center near South 17th Street. At that time, developer Ken Goldenberg of the Goldenberg Group said he expected the site to be completed in 2015.

Construction has not yet begun. Representatives of the Goldenberg Group have said that getting tax incentives through the state Economic Development Authority's Grow New Jersey program would be a key element in getting the project off the ground, but no formal application has been submitted.

"The Goldenberg Group remains committed to the supermarket development in Camden and is currently working through the Grow NJ tax credit program process," spokeswoman Maureen Garrity said in a statement Wednesday. "We look forward to providing further updates as our plans progress."

Ravitz Family Markets, which last fall opened a PriceRite store in the city's Fairview section, would operate the ShopRite. The company owns several ShopRites in Camden and Burlington Counties.

Last spring, members of the Ravitz family said the ShopRite would open in 2016. This week, Karen O'Shea, a spokeswoman for ShopRite's parent company, Wakefern Food Corp., declined to offer a specific timeline.

"We are really still interested in the site," she said. "But we're not the ones developing it."

City officials were jubilant last year in their announcement that two grocery stores were coming to Camden, saying they would provide hundreds of construction jobs as well as permanent jobs for the city's residents, and much-needed access to fresh, affordable food. After a Pathmark store on Mount Ephraim Avenue closed in 2013, the city was without a chain grocery store for more than a year, meaning it qualified as a "food desert." PriceRite was the first new supermarket in Camden in 40 years.

The Ravitz family worked with the city on opening the supermarket for close to a decade, city officials have said. Since the PriceRite opened in October 2014, the store has hired Camden residents and participated in community service events, such as toy drives and park cleanups.

"It's making real inroads in the community," O'Shea said.

As of this week, the store employs 61 people, O'Shea said, more than 80 percent of whom live in Camden.

asteele@phillynews.com

856-779-3876 @AESteele