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Seward Park Co-op Residents Protest Potential Chain Stores

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Roots & Vines, 409 Grand St., shuttered last month. It may be destined for rebirth as a Dunkin’ Donuts.

Rumors circulating among Grand Street residents about the possibility of two corporate chains moving into commercial storefronts owned by the Seward Park Co-op are generating a wave of backlash and an online petition in opposition.

Word on the street this weekend was that the Grand Spa at 403 Grand St. and the recently shuttered Roots & Vines cafe three doors down would be converted to a 24-hour 7-Eleven convenience store and a Dunkin’ Donuts, respectively.

This morning, protesters launched a drive to collect signatures; as of 2:15 p.m. they had gathered 91 supporters.

From the petition:

In just a few days, Seward Park Coop is slated to sign leases for 7 Eleven and Dunkin Donuts to open their stores in the Grand Spa and previous Roots and Vines location.  We have 2-3 days to stop this!!  We the undersigned shareholders of Seward Park Cooperative and other neighborhood residents have formed this petition to address our opposition to Dunkin Donuts and 7-Eleven chain stores being brought to the Seward Park commercial spaces, as managed by Charles H. Greenthal & Co. We oppose commercial saturation in our retail strip and believe we should limit the distance of retail establishments that offer the same type of goods to at least 1,000 feet of each other.  We are concerned that with the expanding population of young children in the immediate area and the problem of childhood obesity on the rise, the inexpensive, junk food options sold by these establishments will have a harmful impact on our children’s health and well-being.  We strongly prefer establishments that offer more healthy, natural and organic food options.  We are concerned that corporately-owned chain stores in the Seward Park retail strip is inconsistent with the independent retail establishments that populate our properties. We are concerned that chain stores will have a chilling effect on property values as the establishments degrade the character and appeal of the neighborhood for both longtime and new residents.

The petition goes on to call for the board of directors of the 1,700-unit complex to solicit and consider shareholders’ feedback on the potential commercial tenants. Chain stores have been migrating into the Lower East Side for some time: Papa John’s pizza opened earlier this year just west of Seward Park, joining a Subway sandwich shop that’s been around for a couple of years. Convenience store 7-Eleven has generated plenty of protest in the neighboring East Village recently.

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25 COMMENTS

  1. As an extended family member of Seward Park I recognized the significance of this seminal moment in the history of the lower East Side. 
    In Cambridge MA, in Harlem NY, in communities across the country residents invested in their families and their neighborhoods make a CALL TO ACTION when the character of their daily lives is threatened with change that undermines the quality of life that they treasure in their community, and by extension, in their own homes. 
    STAND UP : SPEAK UP 

  2.  click the link embedded in the underlined words “online petition” in the first paragraph.

  3. Click on the “online petition” link in the article above to sign. As a resident of Seward Park, I want to thank whoever organized this so quickly, and echo Carol in the hope that it represents a wake-up call to the neighborhood. Like many other people in New York City, I have no desire to live in a community that is overrun by generic chain stores that will inevitably destroy our local businesses.

  4. Clearly privatley owned small businesses have not worked or thrived as a life time resident of the LES and part of a family that has had a strong footing on the LES for over 75 years I see this as a welcome change the neighborhood corner stores like the ones that we currently have being opposed to these establishments due to the growth in childhood obesity is absurd as parents and guardians it is our job to moderate and teach our children healthy eating. With regards to the Dunkin donuts I hope as an orthodox Jew they will make it kosher so there is a viable kosher breakfast option while I will still go to kossars for my bagels and bialys. But these new corporate companies dunkin is privately owned so that arguement goes out the door and from what we’ve seen with pong.

  5. If you guys oppose them so much, rent the space out and put organic! No one is stopping you…….

  6. We can have a happy medium.  Change is welcome and I agree that we need to see new life along Grand Street.  What we need to do is work together to attract the right business.  Dunkin is 2 blocks away on Delancey and Rite Aid and Fine Fair have all the items that 7 eleven will carry…so why do we need to bring in a business that could potentially take business away from those that are already established here?

  7. It is just not true that small privately owned business has not thrived; where do you get your bagels and bialys? Where do you buy your wine/kosher wine? Donut Plant is famous across the city. People travel to our neighborhood to take tours of the local small food businesses. We don’t need 711 or Dunkin Donuts and many of us (a significant amount) don’t want them. 

  8. It blows my mind that the same group of people who adamantly opposed restaurateurs or bars from opening here for fear of a loud “bar scene” (or heaven-forbid, decent food options in the immediate vicinity) are in favor of a 7-Eleven. Anyone who doesn’t live under a rock knows 7-Elevens attract the late-night dregs of society, i.e. drunks, thugs and junkies buying 40’s of Malt beer and cigarettes at 2AM. So, working professionals going for dinner and some cocktails, no! But welcome all junkies, hoodlums and n’er do wells! Is there a 7-Eleven in NY that hasn’t been held up or the scene of some sort of crime? No respectable upscale restaurant, cafe or boutique would ever open adjacent to this sort of establishment. If we are desperate for larger chains with consistent and reliable rent income, how about: Jamba Juice, Pinkberry, 5-Napkin Burger, SpaBelles, Garden of Eden, Radio Shack, Qdoba, Mexicue, to name only few. 

  9. As a former Board Member at East River, I can’t help but think about the decisions we made to turn down at least two potential tenants for our under-utlized auditorium space because we felt it would not add any additional value to the neighborhood. It was a tough decision to turn down potential tenants and $$$ but in the end worked out for the best considering we were able to secure Paul Taylor Dance Company as a long-term tenant. What an incredible new member to our community and a huge boost to the Lower East Side. I’m sure SP will make decisions which are right for them but in our case, I’m glad we held out.

  10. No respectable upscale restaurant, cafe or boutique has offered to open an establishment on this strip of Grand Street, owned by SPC.
    And, when “mom and pops” who may be aspiring upscale cafes, etc have opened, they have not thrived and have defaulted on their rent and on the RE taxes.
    And continue to do so.   In fact, roughly half of the commercial tenants of this strip are in arrears and need to be coaxed, via a personal visit from management each month, to pay their rent.  They simply do not send their rent in timely.
    Nice.
    It is indeed quite the perplexing conundrum.   Hopefully things will improve as the many who have voiced their opposition work their connections and reach out to the many brokers they know who can proffer some alternatives.

  11. Thank you so much for getting active and spreading the news… organic, kosher, whole food, nutrition expert, cooking classes, vegan, osteria, trattoria… everything but another fast-food of which we already have too many.
    Delancy has 3 in a row and they do not look as if they were running well.

    WHAT ELSE BUT TALKING & POSTING CAN WE DO?

  12. Times are tough; it’s not like we’d renting out to Neo-Nazis, pedophiles or Saddam Hussein !     Every unlet store means more maintenance costs for us all; people are against 7-11 so the board said “so find someone else” – quite right, but if you can’t shut up and don’t block co-op revenue.

    Me, I’d like a decent, hygenic appetising Pizza joint.

  13. how does one sign this petition? DD and 7-eleven will be terrible for property values. home owners should sign sign sign.

  14. Here you go, please sign and pass along to others.
     http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/protesting-7eleven-and-dunkin-donuts-stores-from/

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