Even though it didn’t look like much was going on this winter to renovate the former Wal-Mart site in the Orange Derby Shopping Center on New Haven Avenue into a Big Y World Class Market, work is progressing on schedule and the store is expected to open in the fall of 2020.
According to Derby Building Official and Zoning Enforcement Agent Carlo Sarmiento, the construction crew worked on the interior of the building throughout the winter, completing demolition and redoing the electrical and plumbing systems. “It was very deceiving because it looked like nothing was going on and it was a mystery, when actually the crew was parking in the back and they were always working,” Sarmiento said. “In the past few weeks workers really cranked up the power. They are pouring concrete, and redoing the entire outside.” When work is completed, even the parking lot will be completely repaved and revamped with increased parking and larger spaces. “Big Y is sparing no money, this is going to be the perfect store,” Sarmiento predicts. Officials are not saying whether the Derby store opening will mean the Big Y in Ansonia will close its doors.
The store will fill a huge void for shoppers who frequented the Adam’s Supermarket store located in the same plaza which closed in July 2016. Wal-Mart closed its doors just weeks later, the two businesses leaving a gaping abyss in the 177,000 square foot retail center. The shopping center had always included a grocery store as far back as the 1970s with Shop Rite, Klarides and most recently, Adam’s being among the supermarket chains that operated there. With the exception of Woodland Wine and Spirits, the entire right half of the plaza is vacant. The new Big Y will be approximately 60,000 square feet and will be the 71st store located throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Derby Chief of Staff Andrew Baklik is looking forward to residents on the east side of Derby and nearby Woodbridge and Orange having another grocery option in the city. “This is good news for the small businesses in the area—especially the restaurants—because an anchor like Big Y will certainly bring added foot traffic. The under-utilized plaza is in need of a facelift so we are excited about the aesthetic improvements Big Y is bringing,” he said. He describes the store’s new design as a “welcome change” that will be similar to its plaza on Bridgeport Avenue in Shelton.
The shopping center is being redeveloped and marketed by DLC Management Corporation of Elmsford, NY. The project includes a multi-million overhaul which will include façade modernization, parking lot repaving/restriping, sidewalk repairs, streetscape, landscape enhancements and lighting improvements. According to Chris Ressa, DLC’s Senior Vice President of Leasing, the store represents an investment of over $5 million into the local community, providing opportunities for local contractors during the construction process and creating more than 150 full and part time positions.
By Laura Fantarella – Orange Town News Correspondent