Friday, November 30, 2007

Manhattan Supermarkets, soon to be extinct

By: JF

AmNY covered a story that has not received much press as of late, the rumors surrounding the closing of Pathmark on Cherry St. and the affect it will have on the surrounding community (The Downtown Express has been consistent with it's coverage of the situation at Cherry St head here to read it). It's a synopsis of what Manhattan and even our outer boroughs are becoming, a place for bodegas and small expensive stores like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's to thrive. Last month the Daily News ran a story on the city titled "City neighborhoods losing character to condos, chain stores..." Here's a story from Tuesday from the Daily News on the invasion of chain stores in Brooklyn. This problem is growing fast, we all need to do something about it. How the city expects working families to shop at Bodega's or gourmet stores like Whole Foods is beyond me. We need more supermarkets that create quality jobs along with affordable prices. What we don't need is another string of trendy chain stores to drive up prices on working people. Please read the AmNY story below...Also urge you to read the Real Deal's report on the loss of supermarkets throughout Manhattan.

The Pathmark on Cherry Street is among the last supermarkets in Manhattan with a full parking lot. (Lane Johnson / November 29, 2007),0,3897614.story?coll=ny-travel-utility

Towering threat over LES supermarket

Pathmark feels ripple effects of shift in NY grocery store scene

By Andrew Lisa and Matthew Lysiak

STAFF WRITER and special to amNewYork

November 29, 2007

Olivia Henderson doesn't know where she'll shop if there's any truth to the speculation that the Lower East Side's Pathmark will soon be demolished for a skyscraper.

"It's not like there's nowhere else to go," she said, motioning to her home at the Rutgers Houses just across from the supermarket's parking lot. "It's just that there's nowhere closer -- and nowhere cheaper."

The blog-fueled talk began when a sales brochure revealed that the site is on the market for $250 million, and detailed the owner's two proposals -- one for a 55-story building to be built atop the Pathmark's current location -- and the other for two towers, each more than 50 stories -- to rise above the grocer's parking lot.

The talk of the latest behemoth building fits a larger pattern of gentrification of the Lower East Side and underscores the changing face of the New York grocery business.

"Throughout the city, smaller grocery stores -- neighborhood stores -- are getting pushed out by stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's," said Stuart Elliott, editor of The Real Deal, a New York real-estate publication. "Gristede's and Pathmark and those types of places are becoming fewer and fewer." And nowhere is the speculation more believable than on the Lower East Side, where enormous shifts have recently occurred.

"The retail mix is changing," Elliott said. "Varvatos replaced CBGB. You're seeing an influx of boutique hotels. What's been happening in the Bowery might affect some of the future of the housing there. Nonprofits are looking to cash out on their holdings there. The Salvation Army has been selling some buildings."

Pathmark had no comment on the future of the site at 227 Cherry St., nor did city officials and the organization behind the brochure, Developer Resource Group. No matter what, the Pathmark may well become the next victim of local stores succumbing to rising rents and intense competition from high-end chains. "There is no information yet," said Susan Stetzer, district manager for Manhattan Community Board 3, which encompasses the Lower East Side, "but it's clear that there is going to be some development."

She conceded that her office has been inundated with calls regarding the demolition of one of Manhattan's last local supermarkets with a full parking lot. The supermarket's popularity was unmistakable on a recent rainy Sunday a few weeks ago, with the lot jammed with cars and more waiting to get in. And the Pathmark's value to residents is also borne out by a startling fact: More than 95 percent of food stores in the city do not qualify as traditional supermarkets, according to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

Like many of the shoppers who rely on the Pathmark, Marcus Davis brings his own shopping cart. Although the Cherry Street resident hadn't heard of the plan, he wasn't surprised.

"What's it mean? It means I'll have to pay twice as much at the bodega unless I want to get on a train to go buy food in Brooklyn. But what else is new? They keep building, we keep moving away."

No comments: