Not so super: TJ Maxx replacing former Smith St. Met Foods, workers say — dashing hopes of new market

Not so super: TJ Maxx replacing former Smith St. Met Foods, workers say — dashing hopes of new market
Community News Group / Lauren Gill

They’re all maxxed out!

The former site of the Smith Street Met Foods will soon be home to an outpost of discount dud store TJ Maxx, according to several workers at the site — disappointing news for some locals, who were hoping a new food market would replace it instead of yet another chain clothing emporium.

“I’m not happy about it, there’s a TJ Maxx not far away and I don’t think it’s what the neighborhood wants or needs,” said Boerum Hill resident Kate Davis, referring to the chain’s outlet on Fulton Mall. “I wanted a supermarket, I think everybody wanted a supermarket — an affordable one as well, not a Union Market type.”

Budget-conscious Boerum Hill shoppers were bummed when a group of developers purchased the supermarket at Baltic Street for $18.5 million in 2014 and razed the property, leaving them to schlep to the Boerum Hill or Brooklyn Heights Key Foods or the C Town in the Gowanus for comparably-priced groceries.

Locals’ spirits were buoyed by a report on weblog Brownstoner late last year claiming a new grocery store was slated for the under-construction replacement building — only to be crushed once again this week by word that it will actually be a department store.

Retail chains like TJ Maxx are increasingly the norm on and around Smith Street, as rising rents price out indie boutiques and the area’s once-bustling bar and restaurant scene.

Of course, those businesses gentrified what was a gritty, low-rent strip just 20 years ago — as documented in the popular 2007 Life in a Blender song “What Happened to Smith?” which bemoaned the street becoming “90 percent Manhattan” thanks to the arrival of goateed men and “girls balanced in their Manolo Blahniks.”

These days, the area certainly doesn’t need another clothing shop as much as a grocery store, said one local — although she admitted it could do worse than a TJ Maxx.

“There’s so few supermarkets here, I don’t think we really need a TJ Maxx,” said Janie Greene, who has lived in the neighborhood for 10 years and shops at both Key Food and the high-end Court Street Union Market. “But I guess it’s better that than another nail salon or Thai restaurant.”

Still, some residents are thrilled they’ll soon have a convenient place to score cut-rate fashion.

“I’m happy about it, absolutely,” said Boerum Hillian Pamela Warren “I’ll definitely shop there.”

TJ Maxx responded to a request for confirmation that it’s opening a store on the site only by saying that it “has not announced a new store for Boerum Hill.”

Developer the Jackson Group did not return a request for comment.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill