Saturday, October 15, 2016

Pathmark Site Purchased for $35M

Back in August '15 I learned that the Gowanus Parkmarket supermarket, down at the end of 12th Street, close to the canal, was set to close. The supermarket was part of the A&P empire, which declared bankruptcy in July of the same year. 296 supermarkets, including 42 Pathmarks, went on the market, and while most of them were sold at auction & retained as grocery stores, the fate of a few markets, including the Gowanus store, was uncertain. In October '15 the lease on the Gowanus market (along with the lease on a Pathmark in Borough Park) was purchased by Meral Properties & Joyland Group under the name of Manichevitz Family LLC. At the time of the sale the new owners claimed to have no interest in retaining grocery stores at the two sites. The Borough Park store was acquired by an Israeli supermarket chain in March of this year, but the Gowanus store, which closed last November, remained empty.  As the fate of the A&P empire was decided through summer and into fall of '15, the Gowanus Pathmark workers' hopes that their jobs would be saved, or that they would at least receive fair compensation, grew fainter, and the last days there were sad ones:

As I waited in line to pay for my purchases, the guy behind me, whose apron identified him as an employee, was joking around, gallows humor-style, with other workers.  "What do we do with the uniforms tomorrow? Throw them in the trash or burn them?"  Soon I was chatting with him too.  As a part-time employee, ready to retire in a couple of years, he wasn't too worried on his own behalf about the store's closure.  But what about the others, he said.  What about the minimum wage checkout clerks?  What about the butchers, who'd worked there for years, and were earning upwards of thirty dollars an hour?  How would they support their families now?  The promise of severance pay had been withdrawn, though the company top brass had lined their own pockets with fat, farewell checks.

Recently, there have been signs of action down on 12th. Is a market coming back? On Monday,  Park Slope Stoop reported on word that a supermarket - possibly a Stop & Shop - was likely to be opening again on 12th Street. I thought a property deal might be in the works, but saw nothing recorded online. On Friday, though, Crain's announced that the Meral/Joyland developers had bought the Hamilton Plaza Shopping Center  for $35M.

The 4.6-acre site, located at 1-37 12th St., contains a parking lot and a 125,000-square-foot building; however, the new owner has the right to construct an additional 315,000 square feet of commercial space, which could be retail, office or a hotel.

The new owners will likely maintain the existing building, because if they were to replace it with a new structure, they would not be able to replicate the 50,000-square-foot space that housed Pathmark. Under current city law, the maximum size allowed for a single retail tenant in a manufacturing zone is typically 10,000 square feet.

The property was also home to a handful of smaller tenants, including a gym, a liquor store and a Dunkin' Donuts.

The Big J liquor store (we're fans) & Dunkin', and vision & dental centers are long established tenants at the site, but the national chain Retro Fitness arrived recently, at the end of last year.  We're certainly not lacking for gyms around here, with other new arrivals including an iLoveKickboxing & an in-the-works Crunch.
Of the smaller tenants in the Plaza, I'd say Big J & the dental/vision centers stand on shakiest ground, but I hope they manage to stay. I'm excited about the rumors of a grocery store coming back - just fantastic news.  If we can a get market with fair prices, and a good selection of fresh food, this will be a real boon to area residents.  It will also mean the restoration of jobs at the site, most likely with union protection, but I'm not sure if Local 1500 will have any means to help those Pathmark employees get their jobs back. I hope so.

Pathmark to Close
Pathmark Updates
12th Street Pathmark Auctioned Yesterday
No Supermarket Replacement for Gowanus Pathmark?
Local 1500 Ends Efforts to Keep Supermarket at Pathmark Site, but Fight is Not Over

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