HUDSON HEIGHTS — The owner of the building housing a decades-old Associated Supermarket that locals have been fighting to save is backing off eviction proceedings for now to give the grocery store the chance to negotiate for the space.
The property at 592 Fort Washington Ave. was slated to be taken over by a Walgreens, after Associated's lease expired at the end of 2015.
But after a rally, a petition-signing drive and a public hearing this week, landlord Benenson Capital Partners announced Thursday that it would postpone eviction proceedings against the supermarket.
“As a gesture of good faith, Benenson Capital intends to seek a 30-day stay on the ongoing eviction proceedings during its [Feb. 9] court appearance to allow for formal negotiations to continue,” the management company said.
Meanwhile, Walgreens also said it was willing to work with the grocery store toward an amenable solution.
“We are aware of the concerns raised by the community about the closure of the Associated Supermarket in the Washington Heights neighborhood, whose lease expired on December 31, 2015,” Walgreens representative Phil Caruso said in a statement. “In the interest of best serving the community, Walgreens, as the current lease holder of the property, is currently in discussions with Associated Supermarket to seek a solution that best meets the needs of the community.”
Local elected officials lauded the news.
"This is a positive development brought about by incredible community action," State Sen. Adriano Espaillat said in a statement.
“Cooler heads have prevailed," added Community Board 12 chairman Shah Ally. "We encourage everyone to go to the table and negotiate a fair resolution that keeps the community's needs in mind."