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Neighbors Score 'Big Win' in Concessions from Park Slope Key Food Developer

 A rendering released Feb. 9, 2016 of Avery Hall Investments' plans for 120 Fifth Ave., a parcel that's now home to a Key Food grocery store.
A rendering released Feb. 9, 2016 of Avery Hall Investments' plans for 120 Fifth Ave., a parcel that's now home to a Key Food grocery store.
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Avery Hall Investments

PARK SLOPE — Developers are one step closer to replacing the Fifth Avenue Key Food with two new buildings filled with luxury housing and affordable units along with retail space including a supermarket, according to preliminary plans filed with the city.

Builders behind the controversial development, Avery Hall Investments, pre-filed with the Department of Buildings to erect two buildings with a total of 164 apartments — 41 of which are slated as very low-, low- and middle-income housing — after eight months of negotiations between local leaders and the developer.

The two structures — a four story building at 120 Fifth Ave. and the other topping out at six floors listed as 680 Baltic St. — comes with amenities including a fitness center, sprawling terraces and storage for up to 154 bikes, according to the permit application filed last week.

The buildings will replace the Key Food supermarket that has been a 30-year community staple, but after Avery Hall's initial February 2016 proposal met intense criticism over the size of the proposed grocery store and affordability of apartments, the developer conceded to several demands made by locals and advocacy groups.

Plans now include a 22,000-square-foot grocery store, according to Maya Kremen a rep with Avery Hall. The developer's plans originally called for a 7,500-square-foot grocery store with a 15-year lease. The revised agreement calls for a 22,000-square-foot store with a 20-year lease. The existing Key Food is 30,000 square feet.

The developer has agreed to issue an RFP for a "community-oriented" supermarket with a range of price points and "ethnic products" such as Goya brand items, according to advocates.

Community groups including the Fifth Avenue Committee, Park Slope Neighbors and the Fifth Avenue BID said they wanted to ensure the items on the new store's shelves would not be financially out of reach of the neighborhood's budget-conscious shoppers, which have relied on the Key Food even more following the closures of the Gowanus Pathmark and the Smith Street Met Food.

“I think that the Key Food was a really important asset to the neighborhood for a lot of reasons. No body wanted to loose that Key Food,” said Sabine Aronowsky, with the Fifth Avenue Committee. “It’s still going to be sad for us to see it go, but I think given the circumstance we’ve done our best to come to an agreement around what our vision is for a new supermarket.” 

Commercial space will also be available for other retail shops, though it is unclear what or how many stores will occupy the space, according to Kremen.

Sixteen apartments will be reserved for very low-income families, 16 will be for low-income and eight will be for moderate income tenants. But these rates will expire for incoming tenants after 35 years. The apartments will remain rent stabilized for tenants who reside there and their legal successors. 

"Our goal is to make sure that everybody regardless of their income feels happy or satisfied," added Aronowsky. "By pushing for more deeply affordable housing, that’s a big win for us."

The project is expected to break ground in 2018 and be complete by 2020, noted Kremen. 

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