A sudden spurt of activity at the former home of longtime supermarket Food City at 705 Columbus Avenue near 94th Street has raised questions about whether the spot will once again have a supermarket.
Food City lasted for 44 years before closing in 2013. After we broke the news of the impending closure, residents and politicians including current Borough President Gale Brewer and Comptroller Scott Stringer rallied to get the landlords to renew the lease.
The family-owned supermarket was one of the few big supermarkets in the area, and had reasonable prices in an area where prices had been rising. But the market closed anyway, and has now sat vacant for more than six years. Owners The Lefrak Organization had told Brewer that they wanted to work with the city to rehab the space because “The existing 50 year old facilities are outmoded and in nearly irreparable condition.” It’s not clear if any work was done over the next six years.
During that period, several other supermarkets closed in the area. But Trader Joe’s opened a new location about two blocks away at 92nd and Columbus (there is a raging debate on the UWS about whether Trader Joe’s is a full-service supermarket or a specialty market filled mostly with snacks — we do not plan to weigh in on that debate here!).
But in recent weeks, we’ve received tips about construction in the old Food City space, raising hopes that it will once again be a supermarket. A rep for The Lefrak Organization told West Side Rag the company had no comment. Courtney McGee, a spokesperson for Gale Brewer’s office, said that Lefrak told them they are cleaning and updating the space in the hopes of attracting a new tenant. “We have told them we would really like to see a community supermarket,” McGee said.
Thanks to Mark and Tara for the tips.