A Brooklyn community is rallying around a staple grocery store that is being forced to close. CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis reports.
- Brooklyn community is rallying around a grocery store that is now being forced to close. The property owner argues the store's lease expired and a new supermarket will go up in its place.
- But some Long Island longtime residents expressed to CBS News Janet DeAngelis, they fear this will only push them out of the community.
JENNA DEANGELIS: Associated Supermarket has been serving neighboring communities, Crown Heights and Prospect Lefferts Gardens, for three decades. It's popular with neighbors for its accessibility--
- Easy for us to get here.
JENNA DEANGELIS: --and affordability.
- There's a lot of people in the neighborhood who have public assistance. They accept EBT cards and everything here. So when you close it, what will those people and families are going to do?
JENNA DEANGELIS: A question many community members are asking following news it could soon be gone. When its lease expired last June, a month-to-month agreement was made with the property owner. Following back and forth between the two parties, the store was served a 30-day notice to vacate, and then hit with a lawsuit.
MATTHEW W. LIZOTTE: We've provided a hardship declaration to the landlord's attorney.
- Matthew Lizotte represents Associated Supermarket and its owner who employs about 35 people.
MATTHEW W. LIZOTTE: He's been here with his employees day one since the pandemic started, and he's looking to keep serving the community as long as he's permitted.
JENNA DEANGELIS: By Thursday afternoon, a petition in support of the supermarket reached nearly 5,000 signatures. We spoke to the woman behind it.
VIVIA MORGAN: We're not telling the owner that he can do what he needs to do with his property. What we're saying is we're in a pandemic right now, and the seniors who depend on this location, walking distance, where are they going to go?
JENNA DEANGELIS: The property owners, Midwood Investment & Development, wouldn't go on camera. A spokesperson said the tenant has known about redevelopment plans for years, saying it plans to bring much-needed affordable housing and a new, larger supermarket to serve the neighborhood.
JOAN ALI: You put up all these high rises, and no one can afford to rent in there.
VIVIA MORGAN: They're actually pushing out the residents in the community.
JENNA DEANGELIS: A concern in other communities as well brought to Mayor de Blasio.
- There has to be some kind of government intervention on a bigger level here to protect the services that working people depend on.
VIVIA MORGAN: We want to see our community grow, but we want to be a part of it.
JENNA DEANGELIS: Hoping all parties can come to the table to best serve this community. Jenna DeAngelis, CBS 2 News.
- A spokesperson for the property owner is shooting down any suggestions that a luxury tower will go in its place. We have a link to the petition on our website, CBSNewYork.com, just click on Links and Numbers.