Vol. 13, No. 14 July 27 - August 9, 2000



     
 

New Gap Store Latest Good News on Fordham Road

By PATRICK BUTLER

Remember the ad jingle: "Fall into The Gap"? Well, The Gap has finally fallen into the Bronx. One of the largest clothing retailers in the country, The Gap unveiled its newest store at 271 E. Fordham Road on July 7, adding to a string of recent successes for the rebounding commercial district.

"This building was dead space before," said Jose Velez, executive director of the Bronx Council for Economic Development. "But The Gap adds to the whole rejuvenation of Fordham Road."

Velez said The Gap is a community-oriented chain, and is interested in benefiting the people who live and work nearby. "They want to be a part of the [street] festival and sponsor youth and education programs," he said.

For Lisa Hopkins, a Bronx resident and shopper, the opening of a nationally known store in the area is good news for a number of reasons. "It's good to have The Gap in a low-income neighborhood," she said. "It gives us easy access, so we don't have to go all the way down to 33rd Street." She and other new patrons milled around the new store, with its sleek exterior, popular music, and stylish clothing items.

According to Anna Lonergan, a Gap representative, a variety of factors went into choosing the location. "We look at such things as foot traffic, proximity to other stores, and where the customers are," she said. "We are thrilled to be here and it looks like it is going to be a great place."

Bronx Assemblyman Roberto Ramirez was also on hand for the festivities. "As this street becomes more and more the hub of activity, we will strive to attract more and more retailers to the area," Ramirez said.

The new Gap store will employ 130 people, all of them from the surrounding neighborhoods.

"The Bronx leads all other boroughs in terms of retail employment," said Velez, when noting the resurgence of commercial business. "The Gap and other stores will add to that."

The opening of the first Bronx Starbucks on Fordham Road last year was one prominent signal of the resurgence of the Fordham business district, and plans for a business improvement district are well under way. The next goal of local leaders is the redevelopment of the long- dormant Caldor building at the corner of the Grand Concourse and Fordham Road. According to Velez, the possibilities range from an Old Navy outlet to a Burlington Coat Factory.

But for now, shoppers can enjoy a new 15,000-square-foot store, which also includes a Gap Kids and a Baby Gap store.

"I will definitely be shopping here," Hopkins said.

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