Here’s a Friday afternoon press release from Lower East Side elected officials Sheldon Silver, Margaret Chin and Daniel Squadron:
As part of our ongoing effort to ensure that our Lower East Side neighbors have access to fresh food and other essentials, we met with the developer of the former Pathmark site at 227 Cherry Street and received a commitment that a full-service supermarket will be built as part of the project. This is an area that is underserved when it comes to the availability of fresh and affordable food. That is why we fought plans to close the Pathmark and have been advocating for another supermarket to replace it. Extell Development Company has assured us that a food market will be built and we look forward to seeing it open. We are also advocating for a temporary market to open while construction is underway.
Gary Barnett’s Extell Development paid $150 million for the Pathmark site, known as 227 Cherry St. As part of its deal with the mega-developer, the grocery store chain has a “first right of refusal” for the grocery on the ground floor of the new residential complex.
UPDATE 5:12 p.m. A short time ago, we spoke with Victor Papa, president of the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, which built much of the affordable housing surrounding the Pathmark site. In the months since the grocery store announced its closure, Papa has advocated for an affordable replacement for Pathmark, rather than an upscale market like Whole Foods. His organization has also been talking with Pathmark executives and other stakeholders about the future of the site. In Papa’s view, it has been a foregone conclusion for some time that Extell would build some kind of grocery in its new luxury project. “If they (the elected officials) would have called us, we would have told them all of that information,” Papa added. If politicians want to be helpful, he said, they could help Two Bridges develop programs directing residents to already existing, locally run stores in the neighborhood (such as Chinese grocers).