Tenants Association asks Blackstone to keep Associated in Stuy Town

Associated Supermarket in Stuyvesant Town (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

With the future of Stuyvesant Town’s Associated Supermarket once again up in the air, following Morton Williams’ decision not to sign a lease for the space, the ST-PCV Tenants Association has asked Blackstone to let the Associated stay.

The request was made over the Tenants Association’s concern that with a Trader Joe’s store as well as a Target eventually moving across the street from Stuyvesant Town, Blackstone would no longer feel obligated to keep an affordable supermarket in the complex, as the owner had committed to previously. But, the TA is arguing, Trader Joe’s, with its unusual and somewhat curated range of products, doesn’t offer a “complete grocery experience.”

The plea was made via a letter from Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg to Stuyvesant Town’s General Manager Rick Hayduk on Monday.

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Morton Williams reportedly won’t sign lease after learning Trader Joe’s will open across from Stuy Town

Associated Supermarket in Stuyvesant Town (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

That was fast.

A mere few days after employees at Stuyvesant Town’s Associated Supermarket were warned that their new employer (for at least a 90-day trial period) would be Morton Williams, the latter supermarket company decided it would not be signing a lease for the space, said Joseph Falzon, one of four owners of the Associated.

Morton Williams apparently decided to pull the plug after hearing that a Trader Joe’s would be moving across the street from Stuyvesant Town in the site that was formerly home to the Peter Stuyvesant Post Office.

The developers behind that under-construction residential building, Mack Real Estate Group and Benenson Capital Partners, declined to comment through a spokesperson. A spokesperson for Trader Joe’s did not yet respond to a request for comment, nor did a spokesperson for Morton Williams.

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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.

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West 14th Street Associated closes

Politicians at a rally to save the supermarket in March (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Politicians at a rally to save the supermarket in March (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

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.”

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Blackstone to keep affordable supermarket in ST

Reps for owner meet with tenants on Associated as well as maintenance and safety concerns

A petition recently circulated to save the Associated Supermarket got over 800 signatures online and hundreds more on paper. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

A petition recently circulated to save the Associated Supermarket got over 800 signatures online and hundreds more on paper. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

New owner Blackstone has committed to keeping an affordable supermarket in Stuyvesant Town, although it may not be Associated.

Last week, a petition was started to save the 25-year-old supermarket, which, as Town & Village reported in October, was being pressured to end its lease early, even after CWCapital turned down an offer from a competing market to go in at a higher rent.

However, last Thursday, Blackstone reps told members of the Tenants Association board at a private meeting that there would continue to be an affordable option for tenants when shopping for groceries.

As of T&V’s press time, an online petition in support of the store had over 850 signatures. The Tenants Association had also created paper petitions that were placed by each store cashier, which got hundreds more signatures. Many residents had been concerned that the store would be replaced by a more expensive supermarket or no supermarket at all.

Blackstone rep Paula Chirhart, who was at the meeting with the Tenants Association, later told T&V, “We are committed to keeping an affordable grocery in that space.”

She noted that the Associated still has two more years to go before the store’s lease is up.

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CW made Associated offer to end lease early

The Associated’s owners recently closed a Third Avenue Met Foods supermarket. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Associated Supermarket in Stuyvesant Town (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The owners of the Associated Supermarket in Stuyvesant Town — who, as Town & Village reported last month — were losing faith they’d be given a lease renewal by CWCapital, finally got that elusive phone call from the landlord.

It just wasn’t the one they wanted.

The offer? Take three quarters of a million dollars to walk away before the lease even ends in two years, one source with knowledge of the situation told Town & Village. However, the store’s principal owner Joseph Falzon felt he could make more if he rode out the rest of the lease term.

Falzon had told Town & Village in September that he hadn’t gotten an answer about renewal for over a year with CW declining to talk business, while Falzon wanted to make sure the franchise had a future before investing in a much-needed renovation. Meanwhile, he said he was told a competing supermarket had offered CW double the rent he was paying, now around $60,000, only to be denied.
Reached on the phone last Thursday (prior to the property being sold), Falzon confirmed he’d gotten an offer to leave early and that he wasn’t interested in doing so.

“We plan to stay unless something drastic happens,” he said. “As far as we’re concerned we’re here until the end of the lease.”

A renovation won’t happen, though, since Falzon said “it wouldn’t pay” for only two more years at the location.

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