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Court Street Grocer Fights J.Crew Takeover in Cobble Hill

 J.Crew is reportedly signed a lease for the building at 151 Court St.
Court Street Grocer Fights J.Crew
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COBBLE HILL — Fashion giant J.Crew is heading to Court Street — but a local grocery store is not ready to give up its space.

The national retailer, which signed a 10-year net lease for the building at 151 Court St. last week, will take over 2,349 square feet on the ground floor, lower level and second floor, The Real Deal first reported.

The Pacific Green Gourmet Food, which has been located in the building for the past 13 years, was told three weeks ago that the business would have to leave by the end of the year.

“We are trying to negotiate with the landlord,” said Billy Solmaz, 37, manager of the grocery store. “He just wants to give the place to a big corporation.”

The landlord has not discussed his plans for the building with Solmaz but mentioned there were offers on the table, the store manager said.

Solmaz said he and his partners were willing to beat the highest bid, but their landlord has not budged.

“We don’t want to leave,” he said.

J. Crew signed for an asking rent of about $520,000 annually, though some details are still in negotiation, The Real Deal reported.

CPEX Real Estate, which is marketing the building, declined to comment.

J. Crew will open its doors in early 2014, Racked reported.

After moving to Brooklyn from Turkey, Solmaz and his partners opened the store in 2001, serving locals in Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn Heights and Park Slope.

The local grocer even survived the opening of another national retailer, Trader Joe’s, opening just steps away from their location, he added.

On Wednesday, shoppers traipsed in and out of the store, picking up fruits, vegetables, oils and cheese, among other items.

The quality of food and avoiding crowds at Trader Joe’s makes Sherry Sellinger a regular customer when she’s on Court Street, she said.

“The neighborhood would miss this store,” said Sellinger, who visits the area frequently from Michigan to see her grandchildren. “I always shop here.”

Carmen Miller has shopped at Pacific Green since it opened in 2001, she said.

“We need a store like this,” said Miller, who works on Joralemon Street. “We don’t need a J.Crew.”