HUDSON HEIGHTS — An Associated Supermarket in Upper Manhattan will not be evicted — following a series of rallies, thousands of signatures, town hall meetings and protests to keep it from closing — officials announced at a rally on Sunday.
Located on 592 Fort Washington Ave., the nearly three-decade-old supermarket was on the verge of closure after franchise owner Oswald Rodriguez was told late last year that the store’s lease would not be renewed when it expired on Jan. 1, 2016.
Rodriguez, who came before the Community Board 12’s business committee in January, said the landord, Benenson Capital Partners, LLC, wasn’t interested in renewing the lease because “they already had someone that was going to pay them a lot more money.” They had an agreement to give the space to drugstore giant Walgreens, officials said.
Officials from CB 12, along with the Hudson Heights Owners Coalition and several elected officials, including State Sen. Adriano Espaillat, Councilmembers Ydanis Rodriguez and Mark Levine, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Public Advocate Letitia James conducted a town hall and collected thousands of signatures taking the chain to task in February.
Benenson announced in February that he would postpone the eviction proceedings "as a gesture of good faith," but the store did not get official word of a sublease until recently, they said.
Neither Walgreens nor the management company confirmed details of the final sublease, although the supermarket manager, Steven Almonte, said the supermarket was going to stay in the location for approximately 10 more years.
"Hundreds of Washington Heights residents fought to save this store, and ensure access to affordable food for this neighborhood. I was proud to stand with you then, and I am proud to stand with you now to announce that this supermarket will stay here for years to come,” Espaillat said in a statement.
CB 12 Chair Shah Ally said the victory was a big win for the community, adding that he would like to write a “case study” of the process, explaining “what exactly the Board did to make this happen.”
“When I did my research, I found that one other community in Brooklyn (Windsor Terrace) saved a store,” Ally said in an email to DNAinfo. “Now, Washington Heights gets added into the history books.”