Morton Williams expected to take over Stuy Town Associated’s space

Associated Supermarket in Stuyvesant Town (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Monday, employees of the Stuyvesant Town Associated Supermarket, where the owners had been negotiating to keep the store’s lease, all got letters informing them that Morton Williams is going to be taking over the space.

According to one employee, the letter says workers, who are unionized, will get to keep their jobs for at least three months and at that point will be evaluated.

“They have a big company and room to grow,” the worker said the letter from Morton Williams informed them.

Meanwhile, one of the store’s owners, Joseph Falzon, had told Town & Village last month he was almost certain his lease would not be getting renewed. Though a lease has yet to be signed with Morton Williams, Falzon said he suspects a new tenant would have to pay double the rent Associated is paying, which is now $60,000 a month.

“We were out of the ballpark as far as they were concerned,” Falzon said of the landlord. “There was no way we could pay the rent and stay in business.”

Blackstone has remained mum about the negotiations although the owner had promised to keep an affordable supermarket in the complex. Meanwhile, Associated’s lease isn’t up until around the end of the year.

Rick Hayduk, general manager of Stuyvesant Town and CEO of Blackstone’s management company StuyTown Property Services, wouldn’t discuss the negotiations beyond confirming they’re happening.

“We are in conversation with Morton Williams,” said Hayduk, “and we remain committed to an affordable grocery for residents of PCVST as well as any of the community members it services.”

Reached at his office, Morton Sloan, one of the founding owners of Morton Williams, told T&V, “We will be communicating with the community when the time is right.”

Morton Williams is a family-run business, and two of the company’s supermarkets aren’t far from Stuy Town, one on Park Avenue South and 22nd Street and another on 23rd Street in East Midtown Plaza.

Associated has been located at 409 East 14th Street for 25 years. Falzon said he heard Morton Williams would be remodeling the store, which is something he’d wanted to do for Associated, although he admitted he wouldn’t have renovated “to the extent that they want.”

The supermarket employs over 80 people full and part-time. This will be the third supermarket Falzon and his partners have closed in recent years. The last one, on 14th Street and Eighth Avenue, also closed due to a rent issue, and before that a Met Food supermarket on Third Avenue closed. The partners still have a small, 5,000 square foot Associated on Avenue C and Eighth Street. This store, Falzon said, “is very low volume.”

He’s not sure what the partners’ next moves will be, though he ruled out opening a store across 14th Street at one of the new under-construction buildings. He cited concerns about current asking rents in the area as well as the fact that he doesn’t want to be across the street from a competitor.

“One of you is not going to make it,” he said.

Falzon added, “I’m very sorry we couldn’t reach a deal and we want to thank our customers for supporting us all these years. Everything’s coming to an end. Rents in New York right now are not very favorable to small business owners.”

Falzon first became concerned about the renewal of the Associated’s lease in the fall of 2015 after he said then-landlord CWCapital stopped communicating with him on the subject.

 

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12 thoughts on “Morton Williams expected to take over Stuy Town Associated’s space

  1. Hey Dan, how is that commercial tax working out for your neighborhood? Oh look, another victim that could have been saved with a bill like SBJSA. You are a disgrace to small business and should be ashamed showing yourself around here.

    Future candidates looking to replace Dan, do not follow his lead if you want support from this life long resident.

      • Nicely done, Dan. You absolutely should have gotten involved in helping us to retain our Associated. Shame on you. Morton Williams’ price points are substantially higher than Associated’s and while it’s a bit closer to my home than Associated is, my budget demands that I shop there instead. They have also been outstanding and supportive members of this community since they got here. Bad on Blackstone for leaving them swinging in the wind for all these months (nearly a year), with no reasons or answers to them at all. The store has been asking for ANY information on their future with regularity and gotten no response. If this is indicative of how Blackstone does business for their residents, we’re all in for a world of hurt. They give lip service, and little else, to their residents (and press agent). A pox on them and all of their businesses. Guess Mr. Schwartzman’s planning another big party and needs to squeeze the proletariat for the extra rubles. Yes, I know that’s Russian currency… so are their (oligarch) business partners. A shonda!

    • Associated’s sale circular is available online. I’ll be looking at it weekly. They deliver, too. For those unable to travel to their other, smaller, store, you can place an order by phone. I’ll gladly support them, wherever they go.

        • I prefer to support small, local businesses rather than corporate conglomerates like Walmart who don’t pay their workers a living wage nor do they care about the communities they destroy. I try to spend my money consciously as every dollar I spend is a vote for what I want the world to be as well as who controls it.

  2. This totally sucks. I was just in the store this afternoon and wondered why there was an air of gloom in there. I certainly hope that MW will keep on the employees of Association. They are really nice people and go out of their way to accommodate customers, especially the elderly and handicapped.

    The greed of the RE vultures is totally destroying this city. Garodnick and De Blasio should be ready to pack up and leave come the next election.

  3. Dan sold out. How about the silence from the local Assembly Member and State Senator when it comes to supporting local long time businesses? Again, NYC SBS fails to help a small local business stay in their store.

  4. This is socially immoral and irresponsible. The owners and staff at Associate have served this community for decades. To kick them out so the Blackrock can earn more money is truly despicable.

  5. I understand that the landlord at the closed Third Avenue (at East 16th Street) location regretted losing Associated and wanted to re-start negotiations. The space remains vacant.

    The best grocery near Stuyvesant Town, quality wise, is the Key Food on Avenue A around East 6th Street. But the automated check outs are annoying and the lines are lengthY.

    You also get ridiculous lines at Trader Joe’s, which is nearly impossible to shop at because lines block access to their very limited meat selection and their dairy case. I’m surprised the fire marshall hasn’t shut them down.

  6. Pingback: Morton Williams reportedly won’t sign lease after learning Trader Joe’s will open across from Stuy Town | Town & Village

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