Monday, April 21, 2008

Food Fight at the Met

In what's rapidly becoming a common theme, there's a rent dispute threatening the continued existence of a Met Supermarket in the East Village; and like the other dispute we've been talking about in the Bronx, it all comes down to preserving affordable supermarkets as real estate values climb. As the NY post reports: "Negotiations between NYU and the Met Foodmarket - which occupies the ground floor of a university-owned building at 107 Second Ave. - came to an abrupt end earlier this month when the store was offered a three-year lease at triple the current rent, said owner Michael Schumacher."

Unlike the Soundview situation, however, where Vornado the landlord is playing the Marie Antoinette "Let them Eat Cake" refrain, NYU appears to have a soupcon more social responsibility that the Vornado folks: "Alicia Hurley, the NYU vice president for government and community affairs, said, "We're hopeful, as well. It is certainly our intention to keep him in the space."

The key issue, of course, is affordability-and what the mayor intends to do with these kinds of rapidly becoming typical situations. As the owner of the supermarket tells the Post: "It was outrageous," he said. "We couldn't operate at even double the rent. We'd have to close."
That would leave local residents - including budget-minded NYU students and the cash-strapped elderly - out of luck." And this is happening all over the city.