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Crown Heights Development Will Include Associated Supermarket Following Protests, Lawsuit

Crown Heights community members rallied around the supermarket when it was given a 30-day vacate notice earlier this year
The supermarket at 975 Nostrand Ave., between Empire Blvd. and Montgomery St. Photo: Screenshot / Google Street View

Nostrand Avenue's Associated Supermarket will be staying put after a deal was reached between the supermarket and property developer Midwood Development, ending months of uncertainty about the market's future.

In March, the Associated Supermarket, which has been in its Nostrand Avenue building for 50 years, was given a notice to vacate the building within 30 days, no later than April 8. It had been operating on a month-to-month contract with landlord Midwood Investment and Development since last summer.

Earlier in the year, Midwood had announced plans to demolish the grocery store building to make way for a residential development with a new, larger space for a supermarket on the ground floor.

Locals rallied behind Associated Supermarket and its owner Pablo Espinal, with thousands signing a petition to keep the market in the building and many protesting outside the supermarket.

Then, in March, Espinal was hit with a lawsuit from the development company, alleging that Espinal was holding the building hostage and had undertaken a "smear campaign" against Midwood through local media reports.

Midwood said it had offered Espinal $300,000 and the right of first offer on new supermarket space, but Associated's attorney said the offer was misnamed and not viable, and did not provide any "firm option to reoccupy at market rent."

However, this week Midwood representatives said the supermarket would be included in the new development and would get a 21,000-square-foot space in place of its current 16,000-foot space on the ground floor of the planned development, Brooklyn Paper reports.

Midwood Development President John Usdan told Brooklyn Paper the company had been a proud member of the Crown Heights community for more than fifty years and understood "just how important having an affordable, quality supermarket is for the neighborhood."

"This project will not only preserve a beloved local grocery store, but also provide Espinal with a larger, state-of-the-art space, along with much-needed affordable housing — all in place of a parking lot and obsolete market building."

Espinal declined to comment further on the arrangement and a spokesperson for the developer told Brooklyn Paper they were working with Espinal to resolve the lawsuit. 

Associated Supermarket will close by July 31 ahead of construction and there is no timeline on when the building will be completed or the market will be reopened.