After it was announced last month that Avery Hall Investments intends to buy the current Key Food parcel at 120 5th Avenue (at Sterling Place), there have been concerns throughout the community about where affordable groceries will be available in a neighborhood filled with upscale grocery stores, and how far will one have to walk to get them.
Save The Fifth Avenue Key Food (STFAKF) is petitioning Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, Council Member Brad Lander, Craig Hammerman, District Manager for Community Board 6, State Senator Jesse Hamilton, Community Board 6, and Mayor Bill de Blasio.
STFAKF’s advocacy and petition page supports the grocery store’s role in the community since its construction in the 1980s. In their statement, they write that 5th Avenue Key Food has:
- Provided affordable food.
- Created jobs for working class people.
- Eased street congestion usually associated with urban grocery stores, by providing off-street truck unloading and ample parking for delivery vehicles.
- Found a balance between those who require affordable groceries and the expanding upper middle class.
- Made a center for working-class families to buy high quality fresh vegetables and reasonably-priced staples.
- Supplied a place for large families and those who choose not to shop at wholesale clubs to make bulk purchases because of parking.
- Served local residents, those who are employed in the neighborhood, and local businesses who need to supplement their wholesale purchases.
- Marketed fresh groceries for cooking as more and more bodegas and corner stores have disappeared and been replaced by bars and restaurants.
Its likely that STFAKF will have an ally in Council Member Brad Lander. Soon after the announcement was made, Lander stated: “I am deeply distressed about the potential loss of yet another of the neighborhood’s affordable grocery stores. My office is currently looking into the options for how we can keep an affordable grocery store operating in Park Slope.”
Avery Hall spokesperson Maya Kremen tells us that “The Avery Hall team is committed to creating a project that is a benefit to the community as a whole and takes seriously the interest expressed by community members in including a grocery store as part of the project. Avery Hall looks forward to consulting with the community about its concerns.”
DNAinfo reported that Avery Hall spokesperson Ethan Geto hopes that the firm “will build a residential and commercial development that will include some affordable housing.” The project could avoid certain difficult steps that come with real estate developments, as Geto said “the project would not require a zoning change and wouldn’t trigger the city’s public land use review process.”
The deal may not close for another year, and we’ll be following developments closely.
UPDATED to include statement from Avery Hall. 8:39pm.