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Volume 77, Number 26 | November 28 - December 04 2007

Support businesses and organizations that support The Villager: Gaetana's

A & P buys Pathmark company; Market closing still seems likely

By Julie Shapiro

As customers of the Cherry St. Pathmark waited anxiously to hear whether the store would close, Pathmark’s stockholders recently approved the sale of the company to A & P. The merger, announced last March, will not be final until the end of December.

Pathmark has not responded to rumors of the 227 Cherry St. store’s closure, and documents filed with the Securities Exchange Commission in October may explain why.

For the next several months, until the merger is complete, Pathmark cannot “terminate or close any store, office, plant or warehouse or make any announcement of the intention to do so,” according to an agreement between Pathmark and A & P.

The rumors spread after store employees told shoppers the store was closing and contractors took soil samples at the site last month, apparently in preparation to develop the site.

More details about Pathmark’s future emerged after Victor Papa, president and director of Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, Inc., met with Cherry Street L.L.C., the company leasing the land to Pathmark.

Pathmark has 42 years remaining on its long-term lease and is not obligated to use the land for a supermarket. Because of the long lease, “the owner of that site has very little control” over future plans, Papa said.

Papa’s group helped bring in Pathmark in 1983 as part of the area’s urban renewal and does not want to see it leave.

“A supermarket is important to that community,” he said.

As rumors of the closure spread, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver weighed in.

“There is no reason to believe the rumors are not true,” Silver said. But he is far from giving up, and said, “The neighborhood needs a full-service supermarket.”

Several other recent signs hint at the store’s closure.

The New York Community Bank has a branch inside of Pathmark, but last week, bank customers received a letter saying the branch would close by January’s end.

A bank representative confirmed the closing but declined to state the reason.

“Obviously something is afoot,” said Joann Floyd, a bank customer who lives at Cherry and Montgomery Sts.

Over the past few weeks, plans for 50-story residential towers on the Pathmark site have circulated among elected officials and community leaders. Developers have not confirmed whether the drawings, which show a supermarket on the ground floor, are still an option. One of them, Jazmin Stricker of the Developer Resource Group, said a few weeks ago that the plans are old and the current plan is to close the store.

The plans are from 2005 and are not as recent as some have speculated, Susan Stetzer, Community Board 3’s district manager, said.

“There is something happening right now, but we don’t know what it is,” Stetzer said.

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