On Jan. 9, the Philadelphia court of common pleas denied an injunction by Penn against The Fresh Grocer.
Penn filed the injunction against The Fresh Grocer following the initiation of a lawsuit by The Fresh Grocer on Dec. 5, disputing Penn’s claim that the grocery store did not renew its lease on time. Penn, the property’s landlord, worked with The Fresh Grocer to open a grocery store in 2001 in proximity both to campus and multiple public transportation lines.
In a statement on the reasoning behind the injunction, Penn's Facilities and Real Estate Services (FRES) said the motion was made “in order to conclusively establish the expiration date for the Fresh Grocer lease, so that we can arrange for a smooth and timely transition to the new operator.”
Alleging that the Fresh Grocer did not renew its lease by the November deadline, Penn submitted a Request for Proposal in March of 2016 to find a grocery store operator that would renovate the building space. A Fresh Grocer representative told the Daily Pennsylvanian that the new operator was Acme Markets. While Penn did not confirm the identity of the new operator, an Acme Markets spokesperson confirmed being in talks with Penn.
In response to student concern over access to groceries, FRES said the following in an email statement: “Penn will work with the surrounding community to provide some alternative convenience/access to products and services during the transition to minimize disruption to the University and neighborhood customers.”
It is currently uncertain what alternatives will be provided. Penn’s Division of Business Services has not announced any plans to expand Transit or Dining services. However, spokesperson Barbara Lea-Kruger emphasized that Penn Transit already helps students access more distant grocery stores.
“For riders who need transportation to other grocery stores, the Penn Bus East takes passengers within two blocks of the Trader Joe's in Center City and the Penn Bus West goes within two blocks of Shop and Bag at 43rd and Walnut.”
Correction: A previous version of this article said Penn filed an injunction. The University actually asked the court to grant their request for an injunction. The DP regrets the error.
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