AIM officials say many seniors were able to walk to the Rotunda Giant, 711 W. 40th St., from their nearby apartments, but would have trouble walking down the hill to the new Giant and then back up the hill with their groceries.

The new Giant will include a full-service deli, bakery, produce section, butcher and seafood department, as well as a cafe area with self-serve coffee, and separate floral and natural foods sections and a Carvel ice cream case.

There's no pharmacy, but a Rite Aid is next door in the shopping center, which also includes a T-Mobile cell phone store, aDunkin' Donuts and the restaurant Mamma's Cucina.

The floor and all shelving in the new Giant is new, according to Miller.


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The new Giant also has a "cartronics" system to prevent the theft of shopping carts from the store, Miller said.

In an agreement inked earlier this year, New Jersey-based Rotunda owner Hekemian & Co, which plans to redevelop the Rotunda, agreed to let Giant out of its long-term lease in the Rotunda, so Giant could relocate.

In exchange, Giant agreed to let Hekemian replace the Giant store with a smaller "boutique" grocer of no more than 20,000 square feet in the Rotunda, so as not to compete with Giant in its new location, said Chris Bell, senior vice president for acquisitions and development at Hekemian.

Bell cited Trader Joe's as an example of the kind of boutique grocer that he said would be "a nice fit" in the mall. But he and land use consultant Al Barry say it could be several years before a tenant is found to take over the Rotunda Giant space, because it would be unfair to have another grocer move in, only to have to shut down for several years once redevelopment begins.

Bell has reconvened a long-dormant task force of community leaders and presented scaled-back plans for a roughly $100 million redevelopment of the Rotunda as a mixed-use complex of 300 market-rate apartments, retail, offices, several restaurants and an above-ground parking deck.

Earlier plans for a 22-story apartment tower, a hotel and underground parking have been dropped, Bell told the task force Feb. 28.