A final closing date has not yet been set, but landlord Richard Grobman “confirmed that the plan is to make way for housing with underground parking,” stated Public Advocate Letitia James, who is herself a neighborhood resident. “The future of whether or not the store will return is not certain at this time,” she said.
Buyer Slate Property Group has not finalized the purchase yet, but the plan, according to Principal David Schwartz in a statement to Crain’s, is to build an eight-story, 110-unit residential building with 20 percent of the rental units designated “affordable.”
Residents we spoke with are unanimous in their hope that any development on the site — which might include the New Lucky Laundromat next door at 323 Lafayette Avenue — will incorporate a supermarket.
“The three Mitchell Lama buildings along Lafayette Ave have very large senior populations, where would they shop if Key Food closes,” asked Leslie Sierra, president of the Pratt Towers Board of Directors. “I’m physically able to [walk or drive] somewhere else, but what about seniors and those with disabilities?”
Between the Mitchell Lama co-ops alone, Sierra noted, there are nearly 1,000 families who would be affected — none of whom were consulted about a possible sale’s impact on them.
“This has already occurred on  Myrtle Avenue, when Associated Supermarket closed, and that too was a great loss,” Sierra said. “People are in complete shock that this could happen with no one knowing, no community input.”
That Associated Supermarket is slated to reopen in the near future, once construction is complete at the site.
Asked where she would go to shop if another market doesn’t replace Key Food, Sierra said it would be “a difficult decision” between “smaller markets on DeKalb Avenue and the Pathmark at Atlantic Terminal,” which is much farther away.
The next closest supermarket is a C-Town at DeKalb Avenue and Taaffe Place.
Olanike Alabi, Democratic District Leader for the 57th Assembly District, also shops at the Key Food and said “many developers must recognize that in their quest to build and make a profit, they cannot inconvenience residents by eliminating services such as gas stations and supermarkets.”
Although the sale seems to be a done deal, Grobman, the landlord, “is willing to meet [with the community] and discuss options,” said Public Advocate James.
“Clearly, many will be affected and the goal at this time is for all of us to work together for what will clearly be a great inconvenience,” she said.
Update: A town hall meeting will be held on Monday, February 23 at 6pm at 309 Lafayette Avenue.