By Sabina Mollot
The Associated supermarket on West 14th Street, which residents of Chelsea had been trying to save since March, has closed.
The supermarket, which faced a $168,000 rent hike from landlord Pan Am Equities, according to Gothamist, closed after May 1. The store, which is owned by the same group of owners who run the Associated supermarket in Stuyvesant Town, had been paying $32,000 in rent.
Reached this week at the Stuy Town location, principal owner Joseph Falzon said he wouldn’t be opening another supermarket in the Chelsea neighborhood.
“We checked around. The rents are ridiculous.”
In March, Falzon told T&V the reason that supermarkets are in trouble in general is due to the low profit margin in the industry, which makes absorbing any steep rent increases impossible. Meanwhile, he added, chain pharmacies have been able and willing to take their places and, adding insult to injury, stock some food items.
Falzon said he was sorry to leave the Chelsea location though, where the store had been for 27 years. The Associated in Stuy Town has been open almost as long at 25 years.
As for its future, it remains uncertain though new landlord Blackstone has committed to keeping an affordable supermarket onsite. A spokesperson for the owner reiterated that to T&V this week.
Falzon said a week ago he gave a proposal to Blackstone, and is now awaiting the owner’s response.