Shuttering of Brooklyn Pathmark Has Lawmakers Shopping for Affordable Options
Monday, February 21, 2011
The Pathmark grocery store in the Sheepshead Bay section of Brooklyn is closing, and local city lawmakers want to make sure it's replaced by another affordable option.
Pathmark's owner, the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, announced it was closing 32 "under-performing" Pathmarks nationwide last week. That includes three in the New York City area, like the store in Commack, Long Island, and another in Hartsdale, New York.
The A&P filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December of last year.
Rep. Anthony Weiner, who represents the area, is part of a coalition of lawmakers who pushed for the Pathmark to open in the neighborhood in 2002. The coalition includes Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, State Senator Carl Kruger and others.
Now, the lawmakers are pushing to make sure another affordable option replaces the closing supermarket.
"We don't have malls," Weiner said. "We don't even have small mini mall. When you lose a grocery store those people who would usually walk to go shopping will now somehow have to go elsewhere. That's going to have deleterious effect on the shoe store, on the neighborhood record store, on the florist, on everything that's around."
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500 is also working to bring another operator into the space. Anthony Speelman with the union estimates 350 to 400 members will lose their jobs due to the closing supermarkets. He said they're working to make sure the Pathmark in Brooklyn is replaced quickly.
"Maybe that's Key Foods. Maybe that's D'Agostino. Maybe that's Shop Rite. Maybe that's Stop & Shop," Speelman said. "We're actively pursuing all the companies we have contracts with because it is a good store. It's just unfortunate that A&P is in bankruptcy."
Weiner said he's hoping to at least delay the closure of the Pathmark until they can secure another buyer.
"This Sheepshead Bay neighborhood is not an impoverished neighborhood," he said. "Its a working, middle class community with plenty of income. So if a supermarket is closing there it's a sign of how bad things are elsewhere."
Pathmark still has a 10-year lease on the space. It is currently owned by the LeFrak Organization, who did not return WNYC's request for comment about its future plans for the space.