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Grocery Store Moves into Staten Island Building That Was Empty for a Decade

By Nicholas Rizzi | January 24, 2014 2:36pm
 Local elected officials cut the ribbon on South Beach's Key Food at 300 Sand Lane.
Staten Island Key Food Ribbon Cutting
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SOUTH BEACH — A long shuttered Staten Island building has reopened as a Key Food grocery store.

The building at 300 Sand Lane, a former arcade that has been empty for more than 10 years, was officially reopened as part of the city's "FRESH Initiative" to bring grocery stores to neighborhoods that have been traditionally underserved.

"This is a great store, it's great for the community," said Councilman Steven Matteo. "It was sorely needed for the area."

The grocery store, which has organic fruit, international products and a butcher shop, was originally slated to open in 2012, but was delayed after Hurricane Sandy.

The store opened three months ago, but the owners officially cut the ribbon on Friday.

It's Key Food's sixth store in the borough.

"It's been a long ... journey, but finally we're here," said store owner Gino Palummo.

The building has had a long and at times contentious history. In the decade since the arcade closed down, the site was first intended to be used as a multicultural center. That proposal was scrapped after neighborhood opposition.

"We wanted this store to happen, but we had some significant concerns about parking and traffic," Borough President James Oddo said. The problem was solved by adding an extra parking lot.

"This is a victory for the South Beach area," said Joseph McAllister, president of the South Beach Civic Association.

"We're happy to have something like this in the area. Finally something has been developed."