Nov. 28, 2012 By Bill Parry
The Foodtown supermarket at 41-25 Greenpoint Ave. will close by the end of December.
Store manager Ashot Hyusyan said he and the staff were notified of the imminent closing the day before Thanksgiving. “It made for a miserable holiday around here,” he said. “Thirty-plus workers, our customers, our vendors…everyone’s feeling this.”
Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer said he found out about the closing from emails from constituents. “Losing a job is awful anytime, but during the holidays makes it so much worse,” Van Bramer said. “We’ll do anything we can to help those Sunnysiders who are affected.”
A supervisor from PSK Supermarkets, the company that oversees 13-area Foodtown stores, said that all the employees will be situated at our other stores within the company. He blamed an uncooperative landlord for the situation.
Hyusyan said the store tried everything to keep the market open. “We even offered to buy the building and took him to court; he wouldn’t budge,” he said.
The landlord’s identity is unknown to Hyusyan and the Supervisor from PSK Supermarkets. Two high-profile real estate executives didn’t know who owned the property.
The Vassiliou Group has been linked to the property in listings but denied ownership this past summer.
Van Bramer said his office is investigating.
It’s very sad news that Foodtown is going to be closed. The only options left is a Key Food on 46 St, Mets Supermarket on 43 Ave, and Superior Market on QB and 40th St. Associated is not an option at all, despite all the renovations they manage to sell rotten products and refuse to refund for expired groceries an hour after the purchase. So I guess we’ll have to walk a little more to do our food shopping.
For goodness’ sake, Roxy, stop with all of the plastic bags! Smart people around the world have stopped using them years ago.Besides the fact that they’re manufactured with such poor quality that two are automatically used for almost every purchase, they are environmentally hurtful. There is a white plastic bag stuck in the tree branches outside of my window- it’s been there over a year. Every time I see it I wonder how we could allow so much garbage to be introduced into our environment on a regular basis. Do folks not think about our future? Whether or not you see the charge for the bag, it’s there. Get a reusable bag and use it; you’ll feel better and our neighborhood will benefit from your actions.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer is apparently holding a rally to save Foodtown on Thursday night, Dec. 6: http://jimmyvanbramer.com/.
Someone above mentioned that the Associated supermarket in Sunnyside charges for plastic bags. Could that be true? I shop there several times a week and have never been charged for plastic bags. In fact, I don’t think that paper bags are an option. The cashiers automatically put my purchases in plastic bags.
I am outraged regarding the news that this store is closing. Personally, it inconveniences me as now my closest supermarket is much farther away from my apartment. Carrying groceries that far is going to be a bitch. I’m not happy about that.
In regards to the community as a whole, that entire section of Greenpoint Avenue is an eyesore. Many businesses have come and gone. Nothing seems to prosper there. I won’t even honor the political/ethnic argument that others are posing on this comment thread as out of 2 blocks of store fronts only a few businesses have survived the past years. I’m thinking there is some issue with the policies of the landlord and not his ethnic background.
Someone should do an investigation. There has to be more than meets the eye. I’m tired of my block failing.
@Roxy: the person listed on the Newsmeat contribution list is Nedal Hammad, who is this guy’s brother. I at first incorrectly thought it was the same person. My bad. However, yes, I also noticed that Nedal is the CFO for Key Food as well as an immediate family relation to Jamal Hammad. Interesting coincidence. Now Key Food has one less major competitor on the south side.
In the year 2000, the Jamaica Estates resident was reported as Chief Financial Officer of the Key Foods syndicate. Could he still be connected with it? If so, Key Food runs the recently renovated supermarket on Queens Boulevard at 46th Street. Part of that renovation included a new building above the store with offices and rental apartments. The plot thickens!
There is another supermarket in south Sunnyside, on a corner of 47th Avenue and 46th Street. It was recently renovated and has a new name which escapes me at the moment.
Here’s an indication of his political leanings. No surprise:
oh well…. never mind.
O’shea nobody has said the landlord’s actions are illegal. However that does not make him any less of a scumbag. Because something is legal does not mean it is right.
A bit optimistic on 12-13 mil ask. The large church/Salt & Fat/Dunkin Donuts on QB was listed at 6.8 mil in 2009. Not sure what the difference is in lot size.
Given the vitrol of the debate and your previous posts ….the word has negative connotations attached ……
I had a feeling you just might be capable of an original thought. Kudos to you. That is a plausible scenario you have outlined. I do take exception to the term “shmoolah” In what context are you applying it?
The property owner did owe around $50,000 in back taxes, but he wiped the debt out with tax credits that were due him from other of his properties that were and still are standing empty.
I do not see the selling option@ 5 million. 12-13 mill would be a great asking price. That land is pure gold; if you project average yearly rent increase into the calculation. $3340 average rent at sunnyside over the next 7- 10 years is normal.
REAL reason the foodstore is closings.
1. Based on sales/square feet, this store averages 112-152K/ week. It Would have to average 396k in sales/ week to meet all its new cost obligations. Not happening:/
2. You would have to re- rezone the spot?
3. Any negotiation between landlord and tenant may not have happen in good faith. Tenant must have know property had been rezoned.
4. Associated and fresh n’ save are better options.
@O’shea – Let’s say at 10 apartments/floor with 4 floors. Avg rental 2000/month gives him 80,000/month. Only if he is thinking long term will this make sense because you have to account for construction cost. Or he is going to develop the property himself, then he can sell the apartments. If we say avg apt goes for 300k that is 12 mil. (not sure how much it’ll cost to build such a condo). Another option he’ll sell the land to a developer and probably get 5 mil. minus the headache of construction.
Option 3 – Selling to developer is most likely. If he already owes backtaxes, I doubt he has millions to develop the property. Probably just waiting for all leases to finish up and sell to a developer.
@ woodside guy.
You are right. That lot has been rezoned R5. This allows the owner to put up a four story multi apartment building. The lot is about 11000sft, theoretically this allows for the creation of 8-10 apartments/ floor. The landlord would face a payoff of $68,000-$76,000/month.
This is much sweeter Shmoolah than whatever foodtown may have offered.
Note I am not defending the landlord but nothing he is doing other than owing back taxs is illegal.
he doesn’t care about the community that is not a crime
What is the landlord up too
1 will not lease
2 rejected offers to buy
3 area was recently rezoned
4 Sunnyside has been labeled a up and coming neighborhood in the press
5 owns the block acros the street also mostlyempty
6 He sees what is happeninh in wburg and other parts of brooklyn that have been gentrified
7 does not live in the ‘hood
Could be he is holding out for the best offer from large developer who wants an easy knockdown to build a large condo project
Ex-Foodtowner – Are you saying they just weren’t generating enough income?
I have no inside source, but a comment above stated they were willing to pay $40k/month plus $1.4 mil. Sounds like they are doing quite well and willing to pay a lot extra to keep things running.
…sorry I think that rental figure ought to be per month.
As a former employee of Foodtown, PSK Supermarkets, I knew this day was coming. (Mind you, it has been many years since I quit) We all knew, all of the past and current employees knew the day would come that Foodtown will close. For everyone saying “Foodtown closed because of rent, landlord, racial reasoning, etc.”, that is not the case. Foodtown has been suffering financially for years, not just in Sunnyside but in many other areas. Also, if you local Foodtown shoppers, have not noticed, in the past 5 years there have been about 4 different managers, managing the store, now if a red flag does not pop in your head something is wrong, then I do not know what to tell you. Also, after the renovation they did around 07/08 , that caused them a lot of headache and financial lost, because they believed that outcome will be results in sales and revenue, which it did not. Plus, Associated renovated and everyone started to shop there, then within the last year Food Dynasty aka Key Food, renovated (and must I say it has been doing EXCELLENT.)
Don’t know what else say, hope you guys get the picture.
I just went to Foodtown to say goodbye to the employees. One of them told me that in addition to this Hammad character being in arrears to the city for $50K, Foodtown offered him $5 million for the building, an offer he refused. They then offered to pay him $40K in rent per year, up from the $27K they’re paying now PLUS a $1.4 million fee to offset any potential looses Hammad might incur by not selling the building. He refused that as well. I was also told that a business across the street offered him $4 million for the build they’re in and he refused them.
If this is true, there is something very fishing going on here. What does this man want? How much money is enough? Speaking as a property owner who lives only one block away, I’m really starting to get concerned for this neighborhood. What is he planning to do?
West Sunnysider: I agree with your concerns. I live EAST of the Associated market and still shopped at Foodtown, as well as the other supermarkets. With one less supermarket in the neighborhood, the two remaining markets (there’s a Key Food on 46th and Queens Blvd.–which is even further away from you) don’t have as much competition, so they can raise their prices. The closing of Foodtown really does not bode well for the consumer … although I’ll bet the other supermarkets are thrilled. And the businesses surrounding Foodtown will likely suffer too.
So the store is closing in two weeks. There are no new shipments coming in, all the meat and vegetables are gone. I live on 39th Street and Greenpoint, so along with everybody west of the store that uses Foodtown since it’s the closest supermarket, our lives just got more difficult. Associated is now the closest market and since their renovation they’ve upped their prices, including charging for plastic bags. I am not happy with the situation. Apparently the same landlord owns the five vacant storefronts across the street as well that have sat empty for years. Not sure what the plan is. Is it possible that they want the whole strip vacant for some large development project? I hope whatever it is they are planning, they already have the financing and we won’t have empty storefronts for years and years. Isn’t there some kind of law that says you can’t have storefronts empty for any long period of time? What’s the city council’s stand on all of this??
With all respect to the site moderator, if there is a conflict between Palestinians and Jews in Sunnyside, is it not a local issue? Both groups are physically here and part of the community so how is it not of local interest? That’s like saying the Saint Patrick’s Day parade on Skillman Avenue is of no local interest because it pertains to Ireland.
To whom it may concern,
This site aims to keep local issues, “local”. Therefore, global and religious conflicts, and the foreign policies of governments do not belong here.
There are plenty of other news sites that cater to those topics.
BTW, Sunnyside Post: You need to change your site clock to daylight saving time.
I meant eastern standard time.
would you use the word “cutie” in such a disparaging manner if refering to your wife or daughter? You read as a nice man but sexism is now thankfully a thing of the past. Woman are now afforded the same rights to opportunity as men. Keep that in mind
By the way mr o shea……..the term cutie in the context you used it can be construed as sexist……..would you have used that remark if refering to your daughter?
I am dismayed by the anti semetic rhetoric………..why would anyone make joke of the conflict between the arab and jew? Jewish people have suffered from bias for over 4000 years……..my grand father was a holocaust survivor……….i doubt te demise of foodtown is of racial nature……it is economic. Stop the hate
BTW, Sunnyside Post: You need to change your site clock to daylight saving time.
I just found out today that Foodtown is closing. Makes me sad. Sure, we have Associated and Key Food, but I like Foodtown for certain things and many items that I buy are actually cheaper there. A store employee told me they’re theorizing that the landlord wants them out so he can develop housing over there–they say he also owns the empty businesses across the street. Sounds like the dispute Foodtown was having with the landlord could have been resolved if he really wanted to. Why else have all those empty businesses over there? I for one am going to miss it.
The Acris System information seems not to transfer so just use block # 00196 and Lot # 0042 and you’ll see the property record.
property recording –
corporate holder information –
well that took all of two seconds:
corporation owner information
Not a fan of the BID. However, this has nothing to do with the BID or the newly hired intelligent cutie. This is between the landlord and the katz family. The current premise is that the landlord is to blame. What about the katz family? The landlord is palestinian? And they have been doing business together for more than 15 years? Foodtown was the last of the big three supermarkets in the area. They ran the most expensive supermarket is sunnyside and must have faced stiff rivalry from associated and keyfood. maybe the current generation cannot run the business like their father.
If Sunnyside Shines BID can’t do anything about Foodtown or that stretch of Greenpoint Ave, then really what is it good for?
They hire a pretty, young, female face while a hundred yards away from their office, businesses go down the dumper.
If you criticize her you get called a sexist.
Let’s see her keep Foodtown afloat and then I’ll apologize for being such a sexist cad.
It’s a terrible shame that this “mystery landlord’ has been allowed to hold this section of the Sunnyside business community hostage for decades now. How
ironic that the Foodtown property and the “triangle” across the street from it are outside of the local BID district – so nothing has been done about this sad section of empty storefronts and multiple businesses that have tried and failed because the rents are exorbitant.
Foodtown’s demise should be the last straw. For those of you who live a couple of blocks from Associated, this is no big deal- but this supermarket has been serving the community from the LIE and BQE service road toward 43 Street and doing it well. The staff and management have been long time supporters of our Community – almost like family.
I’ve spoken with many neighbors who are angry at the landlord and heartbroken about losing Foodtown.
It may be a “done deal” but I know a lot of folks who want to do some kind of demonstration to find out who this landlord is and most of all to thank the staff at Foodtown for having been an important part of our Sunnyside Community.
They will be missed…..
@ roxy But if the foodtown owners are jewish wouldn’t they be saying that the prophet Abraham claimed that god said it was land meant for them.Such is the case with the west bank and gaza.
wow, palestinian landlord vs jewish store owner! I smell a reality show!!! either that or decades of conflict in Sunnyside
Maybe that stretch of Greenpoint Ave should be renamed the Gaza Strip Mall.
Roxy- I KNEW IT! I knew there was something uglier behind this! I believe it!
There may be an uglier side to this dispute than we realize if reports are true that the property owner is a Palestinian and that the proprietors of Foodtown are Jewish. The New York Times or some other daily newspaper should investigate that possibility. I don’t think that any of the Queens weeklies are up to it.
I love sunnysiders. A bunch of idealists building airy castles on someone’s property:)
@ Sunnyside Native
City Ice Pavillion.
47-32 32nd Pl
A roller skating rink in the area would be fun for the kids and teenagers, but needs more space than the Foodtown floor plan can provide.
I vote for a Chippendales type of club.
@Roxy: Interesting. Several businesses on the block are “going under,” presumably due to high rents and yet this guy is $50k in the red with the city and will possible declare “bankruptcy” (i.e., get bailed out by the taxpayers). Then he can sell off the entire block at sheer profit. Smells like a shake down. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the coming months and years.
Any sort of activity based entertainment. There isn’t anything like that around here. Sometimes I don’t feel like drinking, dropping a chunk of money on eating out or sitting silently in a theater. Things like bowling alleys and game parks, shuffleboard and the like, have little month to month expense. Large volume of staff isn’t needed and you’re not selling any product that you have to put money into each term. You pay for a space and an initial investment on furnishings and then just cleaning products. Hell, don’t even sell alcohol or food. Allow people to get takeout delivered. No booze will allow for a far more diverse demographic. We all know how popular the Loudati soccer matches are each weekend.
One of the Foodtown staffers told me that Jamal Hammad is a Palestinian who owns Maysa Realty Group and resides in posh Jamaica Estates. He reportedly also owns all the vacant properties in the block of Greenpoint Avenue across from Foodtown.
Hooters has good fries! But seriously, another empty space? Not good.
A bowling alley?
Bowling alleys are dinosaurs. There used to be loads of them around here when I was a kid. Maybe one or two are left. They require a lot of space and in a city where space is so costly, they can’t make money.
i vote for hooters.
Yes, Hamburgler! A bowling alley! Perfect. Southside as a destination. Get on this. (Btw: Glad that Thalia is doing well. The Columbian chicken joint across the street, La Pollera Colorado, is one of the best rotisserie chickens north- or south of Queens Boulevard.)
Roxy- nice work, the 108th could really use you. Hamburgler- I like your post.
So much negativity and anger on these message boards. And people wonder why cancer rates are so high.
girlie club, nice… we need one on the south side
i wouldn’t mind a stripper club, the closest we got is Gallaghers and its a bit of a hike. Its big enough, I vote for SCORES!
I am sorry to hear this but I really feel for the employees coming into the holiday season. The staff were very friendly. What the he’ll has Obama to do with a store closing on Greenpoint.. Really ppl wake up.
“Greedy” landlords? Owners try to maximize profits, it is called capitalism.
@Brendan: To your point about businesses failing on the south side, well the south side is less affluent than the north side.
We here at Thalia Spanish Theatre will miss Foodtown and its employees. They were good neighbors to us. Thankfully, our landlord, who owns the rest of the building on the north side of Greenpoint between 41st and 42nd, isn’t greedy, which is why you see virtually no turnover on this little commercial strip.
Thank you Hamburgler….
I hope “Ruben” is simply not baiting. My point is that there may be any number of reasons why the store is closing. Perhaps its bad mangement encompassing all stores? Maybe the rent is too high? Maybe the landlord is being unreasonable? who really knows. What I take exception to is when people take this as an excuse to personify it against an individual or group. That is not constructive. Get the facts…then comment
Does that include that awful Indian restaurant that I never see anybody in. I kinda wonder how a restaurant like that stays in business
You mean Curry Point, yes? It’s mostly take-out.
With everyone going on and on about Obamacare, you’d think it was already up and running. Businesses have been preparing for it, but it doesn’t go in to effect until 2014 I believe. (Is that right?)
Thomas I never said anything about Obamacare, that falls to all the political hot heads above, I merely stated a fact. If he owns that indian restaurant which gets NO business then this landlord had an agenda.
I always like to believe a place that makes no business and remains open is just a front. I’ve seen the Wire.
Hi! You seem to be new here. Ruben is a troll, see below for clarification.
One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.
A person who, on a message forum of some type, attacks and flames other members of the forum for any of a number of reasons such as rank, previous disagreements, sex, status, ect.
A troll usually flames threads without staying on topic, unlike a “Flamer” who flames a thread because he/she disagrees with the content of the thread.
A member of an internet forum who continually harangues and harasses others. Someone with nothing worthwhile to add to a certain conversation, but rather continually threadjacks or changes the subject, as well as thinks every member of the forum is talking about them and only them. Trolls often go by multiple names to circumvent getting banned.
My goodness such invective directed at anyone and everyone that has absolutley nothing to do with this store closing…Obama care? Indian Restaurant? Again stop jumping to conclusions….if the landlord can’t pay his real estate taxes …how does having an empty building serve him better? most people posting here seem to be venting their biases and anger at anything other than looking into their own souls. Stop the madness! Hannukah, Kwanzaa all the Holidays are approaching lets stay on track!
What we need is a large chain bar/resturant with strong finacial backing to open on greenpoint ave to help revitalize the area. I vote HOOTERS!
Empty Retail Space = Tax Write Off for whichever multi-million dollar real estate investment corporation owns the building / land.
On a side note, I find it very hard to believe that two unnamed “high profile real estate” executives don’t know that they can find property records online using the ACRIS system.
@It’s all true: is it much more than the $50k the landlord won’t give the city in back taxes?
This isn’t about Obamacare. It’s about greed and tax evasion. Hoarded capital doesn’t trickle down.
so this landlord owns the stores across the street as well? Does that include that awful Indian restaurant that I never see anybody in. I kinda wonder how a restaurant like that stays in business while a great place like FoodTown gets their nuts squeezed for more money.
Indian food…just like a baby’s dirty diaper with some curry. Same texture, 10x the price.
Greenpoint Avenue is becoming more and more awful. This should be a thriving shopping area but it is not. Sad. And people cannot afford Obamacare. It is more than a few dollars – much more.
What’s wrong with the Associated a block up? Last time I was in there they had hanger steak. Hanger ffs!
Pretty large space. I vote bowling alley.
i would love to shop at the mom & pop stores–i prefer it–landlords on gpt ave should realize that it prob makes sense to lower rents to get tenants in rather than keep these large space empty for many years. we could use a nice coffee shop and a cafe like aubergine on skillman–those biz are thriving why does everything fail on our side of the blvd? and the orchard market just closed–another empty space–it’s really disappointing. but dollar stores and cheap clothing stores succeed!!
Build us a REAL supermarket like Publix or Meijer’s .. shiny, clean, organized, well stocked, great gourmet selections as well as better than just decent store brands! When I travel and go into one of those stores, I feel like I am on another planet. They are fabulous!
Trader Joe’s might be a good investment with the increasing hipster population in the area, but with parking already scarce as it is, it might be a problem. So I really cannot come up with anything other than a market for the area, Associates will increase the prices now, that’s a problem.
Greedy landlords are to blame for all the empty stores on Greenpoint ave. check out the rents of those stores and ul understand how small businesses can not survive in this economy. That s why it s so important to shop local and try to keep the existing shops,bars and restaurants in business.we don’t need any more stores closing on Greenpoint ave.
@LT, I too am sad at this development as it is my go-to grocery store.
It is interesting to note though that this block is always fraught with failing businesses. (But usually on the south side.)
I wonder if the Sunnyside BID decided to include this block if it would help.
(Note: the BID covers “Greenpoint Ave. (from 43rd to 48th Streets)”.
I think that’s awful considering that Greenpoint Avenue’s Sunnyside section starts a few blocks before that.)
@Virginia, unfortunately it’s not a few extra dollars. But with those “few extra dollars”, i’d rather put those dollars in my employees pockets, so that they can choose whether or not they want insurance. I am americas solution i create jobs and create wealth for individuals.
Terrible news…this was the only decent grocery store in the area. I’m hoping it will be replaced with another soon (Trader Joe’s perhaps??)
What difference does his name make? Perhaps there are many reasons why this store is closing….maybe this fellow is experiencing financial difficulty and kept the tenant as long as he could? Maybe he is greedy but that is his right…its his property You need to stop the intolerance and embrace others as part of this human community. The Holidays are upon us….remember education is the elixer of ignorance!
This is too bad. The Foodtown was the only place that sold passable produce and had a bearable floor plan, i.e., you could move.
To those who want to blame Obama for this, you have serious problems. Work it out. Read.
I too see a lot of employers cutting corners so they don’t have to insure their staff. But this is the fault of very stingy employers who get even stingier by the day. If you can’t see your way to paying a few extra dollars to make sure your fellow man, woman and child have medical insurance and whatever else they may need, you are America’s real problem.
@oICU12 I’m not a fan of ugly glass and steel multi story structures, but I can’t say I’m a fan of the way this current building looks either!
Obamacare? Jesus people.
not only am i upset about the closing of my local store and the loss of jobs for the people i see on a weekly basis–i am upset by the fact that greenpoint ave will have yet another large empty store. we need to revitalize this area–it’s being to look and feel depressed!
If the place is owned by jammal hammad do you think they give a two sh*+s about Christmas, thanksgiving, or the holidays ? store worker said eviction was served before thanksgiving.
Even scrooge would have waited.
Is the name of the landlord Ebeneezer Scrooge by any chance?
The only reason I can think of for the landlord’s behavior is that he wants to sell the plot to a developer who will build some ugly, glass and steel multi storey structure.
Another 99 cent store! Whoopee! As for Obamacare, if you have 50 employees or more, you have to cover them – so be prepared to see more PART TIME help as opposed to full time. And full time is now defined as 30 hours per week, so people will be working for 29 hours. Way to go, voters. Maybe a nail salon?
There 16 ways to spell “Hannukah” during this holiday season…lets focus on the positive! Thank you JVB for caring about the workers affected….may be many reasons for the store closing……lets stick together!
Excellent location for a nail salon.
“Obamacare”? WTF does this store have ANYTHING to do with Obamacare?
And a Google search shows Maysa Realty headquartered at 86-20 Avon Street in Jamaica, Queens, with Jamal Hammad listed as the contact person.
According to NYC Property Search, the building is owned by Maysa Realty Group, which owes more than $50,000 in back taxes on the property.
How is the related to Obamacare?
PG knows whats up
Obamacare at its finest